The Start-up journey
EdFinders, founded by Cherrelle Bird and Darren Cain, is an exciting UK EdTech startup. Whilst still in its infancy, the business is attracting attention from both educational organisations and workshop providers throughout the UK.
Our Founders have experience of working in local primary schools and also spent a number of years honing their skills as private day nursery owners. Learning their craft as they planned Edfinders, they have applied the core principals of lean startup to their business. One of the key mantras in lean startup thinking is to
“Love the problem, not your solution”.
With this in mind, the founders decided to explore this further with leading Startup Coufoundry – Nova Ltd.
Defining the problem
Whilst working in education Darren and Cherrelle experienced the frustration and difficulty in researching, sourcing and booking workshops. One of their key goals in life has been to give every child their lightbulb moment in education, and outsourced workshops can be an enabler for this.
With the help of the Nova team, they set off to explore and build a set of user groups, from both sides of the issue.
The main issues they came across was just how long it can take for educational staff to actually get the right information in front of them, thus enabling them to make an informed decision to spend their school’s money. Their experience whilst owning the day nursery also validated this point. The main issues they found:
- Finding the right workshop for their group
- With the right insurance and enhanced DBS
- and availability
- At the right time and for the right budget.
In order to better understand this, they also wanted to see it from a workshop provider’s perspective. Just how easy (or not…) is it for workshop providers to source and book work in schools and nurseries?
For workshop providers the frustrations were:
- Not being able to speak to the decision-maker
- Having time to market and showcase their skills and craft
- Having time to work on their business as well as in their business
“After speaking to 20 or 30 schools and nurseries, and also to over 35 workshop providers, we identified that both user groups felt frustration that impacted on their work. This led us to believe that there was a problem that was worth solving. We realised that schools were using valuable time and effort looking for workshops, and workshop providers were finding the route to market difficult and often frustrating”
The Nova team co-founded EdFinders and have provided a range of support in mentoring, exploring and validating the EdFinders business proposition.
Developing a solution
Having identified a problem, and one that people were prepared to pay for a solution, The Co-founders set about creating an answer to the problem. Rather than diving in with expensive software development and costly marketing campaigns, the team chose to develop a lean prototype solution, so they could test it with users before committing time and resources to further the solution.
“To date, we are still working with our prototype development and gathering data and evidence for the next stage of our journey. The amazing thing is that even with the prototype we are able to offer a comprehensive service to both parties in our market place – educational organisations and workshop providers.”
Darren Cain – Director, EdFinders Ltd.
The journey continues
EdFinders is now established, albeit as a start-up business, and is providing a simple and effective service to educational organisations and workshop providers. Together, they are creating the opportunity of a lightbulb moment for children of all ages.
“EdFinders exists to help children better themselves and to learn more – that is why we use the term ‘giving children their lightbulb moment’. Without the support and drive from Nova, EdFinders would still be an idea in my mind – constantly gnawing at me to do something with it. We didn’t have to give up our day jobs or stump up the money to get the process going – Nova has supported and mentored us along this path. In truth, it has been hard work, but hard work that has been rewarded with a business that I own and am growing” Cherrelle bird – CEO EdFinders Ltd.
“Darren and Cherrelle have shown real grit and determination on their journey with Nova. Their passion and drive to provide a superb service that ultimately enables children to experience the hidden curriculum are so obvious and infectious. We have come a long way together, and there is still so much more we can achieve!”
Ian Dixon Nova Ltd – EdFinders Product Manager