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Peter's story on... learning and playing to our strengths

Mentorship is often a key contributing success factor for entrepreneurs and Peter was fortunate enough in his brief time of employment, to have worked very closely with a stellar example of what it takes to be in business.  Having always wanted to start his own business, it took Peter a few goes but third time lucky was the charm.  Peter and his two co-founders, James and Dylan, started their venture towards the end of Covid-19 which turned out to be great timing as the world was now ready for what they were creating: a digital knowledge & learning platform.  As South Africa’s transitioned to online learning and online education began to take off, their newfound business continued to become more relevant than ever.  


Like many founders, the initial idea came from a personal frustration: when learning something new, Peter would always source content and make a learning pathway to what he thought constituted a nano degree i.e. at the end he felt he would be equipped, knowledgeable and competent in that subject matter.  He knew having software to enable this type of learning would make this all a lot easier, and he was sure it was something that could benefit a lot more people than just himself.  What was he trying to learn? Dirt Biking! This would become their pilot. This powerful trio embarked on a journey of true collective effort at getting this new venture off the ground and into reality: an “Academy-as-a-service” platform that gives educators and trainers online training superpowers to enable them to scale their businesses.

“The idea was always the same: building learning pathways.  We started not really knowing what we were doing, initially with a focus on B2C which became difficult to monetize and gain traction.  A year later we decided to pivot to focus on B2B, which has really been a game changer.” 

We are reminded that as Founders, doing something completely new, means there is inevitable learning that has to happen along our journey to enable us to rethink and pivot in unexpected ways.  It is important to step back when things aren't quite clicking, and search for the why behind it, then to use that learning to find new and better ways.  From one to fifteen clients in seven months, they have entered the next phase of business having learnt a lot to get to a point where the business has struck value.  


Finding product-market fit is where Peter believes many Founders find challenges.  To have great ideas on what the world needs is one thing, but to make these ideas work, you need product-market fit (and that includes something people are actually willing to pay for).  Interestingly, we often assume this is in the beginning of the Founder journey, but Peter points out that we should constantly be looking at product-market fit because many times this is where a pivot results.  Let's also not forget that markets and people change all the time which requires us to tweak this fit along the way. 


Peter and his co-founders are a great example of a complementary team that together are an unstoppable force.  Each playing to their strengths, the combination is their ultimate weapon and reason for success.  They remind us how important it is in one’s personal journey to understand our strengths and weaknesses and those with whom we partner and use it to our collective advantage.  Outside of the Founder trio, they have mastered wize collaborations with others, namely experts in the domain of learning.  They show us how bringing in expertise outside of your key area of expertise, can really advance business growth in ways we could never have achieved alone.  This keeps learning quality and efficacy high while they focus on their area of expertise, the platform they have created.  And lets not forget a very key piece of the puzzle: the users/clients, whom they remain very close to, directly engaging with them, enabling a constant loop of feedback into iteration that keeps their product relevant and up to date with user needs.  

“At this stage we are still able to engage with our clients directly, see them in person, hear their feedback and experiences and we thoroughly enjoy this closeness to our users.  The direct learning between Founders and their clients is gold.”

Peter goes on to impart his key business learnings: focus on the problems rather than the solution; have very specific goals, and learn about various tactics and frameworks that could work for you in terms of operations and ways of work. This keeps their business on track to reaching the milestones along their journey, keeping the team action-oriented in order to see results. 

“There is such a disconnect with global entrepreneurs and those here in Africa.  We need to watch those a little closer to our reality.  Those Founders closer to home, that have achieved success, I find really interesting, especially those who are just a few steps ahead of us - they are a great source of regular inspiration as we follow their journey.  They all inspire me because they are a living example of how attainable our business dreams really are.” 

Peter reminds us of how important it is to share our entrepreneurial stories within the Founder community as the role we all play in inspiring others dreams is an important one.  Peter did just that in sharing his story, we thank him for keeping the chain of inspiration going!


“Solving niche challenges Founders face”.


Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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