UpSkill is a premier e-learning startup which blends scientifically approved principles of learning and the best quality content to boost personal learning. They aim to be the hub of quality education for personal growth and individual learning for a successful career.The platform will host courses from leading universities and organizations to boost personal and professional learning.
We three co-founders I (Abdul Basit), Ali Abbas and Zeeshan Jahangir were friends working in private companies. Ali Abbas came up with this idea and discussed with us and we agreed to work on it. We completed the research and designed our revenue model. After that, we tested our idea and participated in Plan X demo day 2015 where we received a lot of appreciation and this motivated us. After returning back we quit our jobs to focus full time on our idea. We set up our office, hired interns and worked on our prototype. We gained our first major success when Microsoft offered their servers to UpSkill at $36000 value. Just after that we received an investment of up to $50,000 that helped us to set up our new office, hiring of employees and marketing activities. We started with 3 members but now we have 7 permanent employees and more than eighty ambassadors all over Pakistan. Our marketing team under the leadership of Zeeshan Jahangir worked hard to attract users. We have almost 15000 registered users . UpSkill has also been featured in TechinAsia and Big startup in as the leading education startup of Pakistan.
Pakistan is just our start. We have a lot of plans. We will be entering into South Asian markets within a year. We aim to become the largest e- learning company of the world.
Every startup has to face a lot of hurdles and we also faced the same. First hurdle was to convince the users about our idea. The case of Axact affected the education system and people often asked us whether we are the next Axact but we convinced them about our idea and ultimately succeeded in it. Lack of investment always remained a major hurdle for startups but I must say if you’re passionate and positive, then you will definitely find a way as we did.
Learning From Failures
We never feared about failure and always take a lesson from failures. It’s not that we always remained successful. We failed many times but always take a lesson from that failure. We believed in our idea and we defeated the fears and failures through our belief. We applied for Plan 9 for incubation, selected for 1st round and dropped in 2nd round. We learned that technology is playing a major role in our startup but we don’t have a tech guy. So we contracted with a technology startup. This was our second mistake. Our lot of time was wasted due to them as they were not competent enough to handle our system. After three months they denied to work further on our product. We learned that if you are a technology based startup, you must have a person from technology background and co-founders should also know the basics of programming if they are from business background. If we had the chance to start our career all again, we would definitely take experienced tech professionals in our team.
Impact on Local Community
We are definitely making impact on our sector and community. Pakistani youth is lacking with essential skills and our skilled based courses would definitely help them to excel in their career.
If you’r passionate and positive, then you will definitely find investors, as we did.
Our biggest mistake was the contract with the IT startup. If we had a tech co-founder with us, then we would’ve definitely been in a much better condition.
10 Years Down the Road
10 years down the road, we see UpSkill as the leading e-learning company of the world with millions of users.