Found In The Rockies

Timeri Tolnay (EdCuration) \\ Empowering educators to find the best resources

August 24, 2022 Les Craig Season 2 Episode 27
Found In The Rockies
Timeri Tolnay (EdCuration) \\ Empowering educators to find the best resources
Show Notes Transcript


In today’s episode, we have an Timeri Tolnay, who is the CEO and founder of EdCuration. Timeri is an Edupreneur, who has built a company focused on connecting educators to the right curriculum and instructional resources to help their students succeed. 

Here’s a closer look at the episode:

  • Timeri’s early career in education in California
  • Moving to Colorado
  • Understanding how schools purchase curriculum
  • Developing and selling a curriculum company
  • The problem Timeri was trying to solve
  • Launch in 2018
  • Early advice from Traction
  • Raising a Friends and Family round
  • Support from the state of Colorado
  • First customers
  • How they defined the business model
  • Growing the team during COVID
  • Challenges of raising capital
  • What is exciting in the works
  • The future of education


EdCuration Website: 

Timeri Linkedin: 

EdCuration LinkedIn: 

EdCuration Twitter: 

EdCuration Instagram: 

EdCuration Facebook: 

Timeri 00:00

I think the future of education is going to look a lot like the way we entrepreneurs work, like the way kids are going to work in schools is going to be similar to the way that we entrepreneurs work.

Les 00:18

This is Found in the Rockies, a podcast about the startup ecosystem in the Rocky Mountain region, featuring the founders, funders and contributors, and most importantly, the stories of what they're building. I'm Les Craig from Next Frontier Capital. And on today's show, we have an Edupreneur, who has built a company focused on connecting educators to the right curriculum and instructional resources to help their students succeed. Enabling innovation and the future of education meets Timeri Tolnay, who is the CEO and founder of Edcuration. Hi, Timeri, welcome to the show. 

Timeri 01:00

Hi, Les. Thanks for having me. Glad to be here. 

Les 01:02

Yeah. I'm super excited to feature an Edupreneur is that how you say it?

Timeri 01:05

Thank you. Yeah, that's right.

Les 01:07

I think your first Edupreneur on the show. 

Timeri 01:12

There’s a lot more of us. 

Les 01:14

I’m sure there are. And you you live in Golden Colorado. Is that right? 

Timeri 01:12 

I do. Yeah. Yeah. 

Les 01:21

Home of the Beautiful Colorado School of Mines. 

Timeri 01:23

That's right. Yeah.

Les 01:26

I actually love I gotta, I gotta say, Colorado. Golden Colorado is one of my one of my favorite places. In fact, we're, we're there right now. I would, I would have to say, we should we should have recorded this floating down the Clear Creek. I mean, that would that would have been the spot

Timeri 01:42

Clear Creek River. Go to the Coors Brewery which I've been here for 20 years. And I've still never toured. But I like Coors. 

Les 01:53

It probably tastes better when you're from Golden right? t's just like, so fresh.

Timeri 01:58

Yeah, it's cold. It's cold out here. And then Red Rocks is in Golden, which is not to be missed. Right. So there's lots of great stuff here.

Les 02:06

I could probably I gotta tell you, I could we could probably do a whole episode on how awesome Golden is. But let's get the stuff that our listeners actually tuned in for and are excited. And that's you. That's your story. So I'd love to start off. Why don't you just tell me a little bit about your background and where you came from? And kind of your your your story?

Timeri 02:26

Yeah, yeah. So I grew up in Southern California. And I was the first in my family to go to college. And so that meant that not only did I have to go to the university, but I also needed to get Yeah, I got work study and how to find a job during college and ended up finding a job tutoring students in the local high schools. I was attending Santa Clara University and working in kind of inner city, San Jose, California, and really just developed a love for helping young people learn and that ended up leading me to become a teacher, which I was for 12 years. And I taught in Orange County in California at the Santa Ana Unified School District, and then got married and moved to Colorado and taught for Denver Public Schools for awhile before I kind of moved up the ladder and became a district administrator and then eventually left and became an entrepreneur started a curriculum company. And then and then started curation. Yeah, so always been an Edcuration.

Les 03:29

The full trajectory from tutor to like, Administrator, that's pretty amazing. What when you think back to your teaching career, like what was? I mean, there's so many great aspects of teaching and but what was your favorite part of it? What did you What did you love about teaching?

Timeri 03:46

You know what, most people tell you that they love working with students, they love seeing students, you know, the, the AHA light bulbs go on, which is, which was true for me too, of course. But something that surprised me that really shaped kind of the trajectory of my career is that, you know, when I was first hired to teach, I remember years when I was just kind of thrown in the classroom, and like, you know, you haven't had an English degree. So teach English, you know, and maybe we weren't really given any books, or we were given a key to a dusty book room, like, pick whatever you want, you know, there's like, you know, maybe there's 23 copies of the book that you think your students would like to read and that you'd like to teach, but you've got 35 kids in your room. So how are you gonna get the rest of the copies that you're missing? 

Les 04:35

And there's not enough dusty copies? There's never enough the good books always get, like stolen by kids for summer vacation, right? Yeah,

Timeri 04:41

yeah. And so there's as much work going into figuring out like, what to teach as there was time spent actually teaching, you know, and, and I just thought that's how it was. And then I was working in Denver Public Schools, and they actually purchased a comprehensive kind of curriculum for all the teachers, I was teaching middle school at the time to us. And it was I had already been teaching, I don't know, maybe eight years or so. But it was the first time I was properly resourced, you know, with some really good materials, some directions for how to teach well, resources for, you know, what the students were going to be reading and doing and costs. And all of a sudden, a couple of things happen, my job got way easier, because I just had to teach the material, I didn't have to think about what to teach and plants I just I was provided with what I need, I just had to teach it. It was all vetted, you know, by the experts in the district and great, great stuff. And my teaching as a result really improved, I became a much better to just that it was a good teacher, but I got much better because I had great materials and great resources. And it completely changed my way of thinking about how important those instructional materials are, which really kind of sent me sent me eventually out of the classroom, to get more great resources into classrooms.

Les 06:04

You know, you think about it. I mean, teachers have such a tremendous responsibility on a day to day basis, just, you know, teaching material, but like, sometimes we forget everything else that they have to do to prepare and grading papers and like, like it's in any job in any other industry. It's like we there's always limited resources, there's tools, there's like, there's constraints that we have to work around. But it's almost like with teachers, we just expect them to be superhuman. In some aspects, right.

Timeri 06:37

For sure. Sure. And certainly we have in the last few years, right? Yeah. And monitoring health protocols.

Les 06:43

Yeah, we'll talk about that. We'll get into that. But before we do, I'm curious. So the Colorado move, what was that like coming from Southern California and moving to Colorado? And this was what around early 2000s, that you made the made the jump, right?

Timeri 06:58

It was yeah, it was great. It was great. I mean, I've, you know, I had a good life growing up in California and going to school there and having lots of friends there. But I remember even at the youngest age, feeling like the quality of the air pollution, or the problem with air pollution was something that wasn't for me that I couldn't kind of see past and always wanting to live somewhere else. And so when I had the opportunity to move to Colorado, it just kind of check that off. Oh, I'm in a place where I can breathe that has space. It's beautiful. And consequently, my career did really well. You know, it really skyrocketed here. So it was definitely the right move for me. 

Les 07:41

Yeah, it's kind of like you moved from kind of Silicon Valley to the new Silicon Valley. Right, way ahead of your time.

Timeri 07:47

Yeah, that's true. 

Les 07:49

Very cool. And what? So we're gonna I want to dive into Edcuration. But there was this the first business you started, or was there something before that when you sort of initially

Timeri 08:00

There was something before that. Yeah, so I, I actually partnered with the author of that curriculum that Denver Public Schools had purchased and provided for me, I had such good luck teaching those materials that we kind of went off and started a new curriculum company called inquiry by design, they're still around, I was one of the founders of that company. And we wrote and sold, I guess, grades three through 12, English language arts curriculum. In the first year, you know, we sold it into one school district in California that we knew. And then, by the time, six years later came around, we had sold into, I don't know, 45 different districts nationwide that were using it. And so that was a great a great opportunity that really taught me about the way materials are bought and sold in schools. And, and I just saw, that technology could be leveraged to simplify the selling and the buying and to just make it easier, because the amount of time that educators take to perform due diligence to make sure that when they're buying curriculum or buying good stuff, is a lot of time. And it's a big, messy bureaucratic process. And I just knew technology can make it better. 

Les 09:21

And, how is it the status quo at that time? What was it? I mean, are these decisions and work that's typically happening off school cycle like summer in the summer, so it's probably like a condensed decision timeline?

Timeri 09:34

Actually well there. So there's, there are buyers of instructional resources, of course, at the school level, and also at the district level, and it varies kind of district by district. Some districts kind of make the majority of purchasing decisions and kind of, you know, give access to the schools to use, and then some districts take their funds and divide them by school, so schools can make their own individualize what are called site based decisions. And so it's a little bit complicated on who does the buying, I'd say when the school district is buying, they really will take a whole year to two years, to really vet the materials, they often buy on cycles, you know, there's always dollars for curriculum, they maybe refresh it every five to 10 years or so maybe maybe every seven years, you're one in seven, they buy math, years, two and eight, they buy reading, you know, years three and eight, they buy science, that sort of thing. And it's always kind of a schedule. So but then, you know, different different places do it different ways. And it makes it a little more complicated on, on how it's done, and how to sell and buy.

Les 10:49

Interesting and your decision to step away from, I mean, on the administrator side and launch this curriculum and professional development for the company, was that what was the motivation to do that in the first place? Because that, to me, that seems like a pretty brave or pretty, pretty big step, you know, away from, you know, an environment that you spent your entire career up to that point, you know, right.

Timeri 11:12

You know, Les I have to tell you, it was for personal reasons, not personal that I don't want to tell you what they were, but it wasn't, it wasn't honestly motivated by career, it was a little bit motivated by like, you know, quality of life and like family, it was like, at that time, I had a little, a one or two year old, and I thought, I'd like to be able to have more flexibility around her schedule. And, you know, schools, schools give you lots of time off, but they're, they're not flexible, it's very rigid, get summer off, it's very rigid. But if you, you know, wanted to spend different times with your with, you know, raising your children and, and so I knew that by starting the curriculum company that I would have more flexibility to be with my daughter a little bit more. It did, it did mean that I was working more, I was working more, but it was flexible work. And so I appreciated that. I thought it was good, good for working mom,

Les 12:16

For sure. Makes sense. And then what ended up what happened to that company, the curriculum company.

Timeri 12:24

So I sold my shares in that curriculum company, because I just, I really wanted to kind of, you know, see what was next and and pursue this idea of leveraging technology to bring buyers and sellers together, to you know, to make it easier for them make it easier for the people selling into schools and easier for the buyers to find the right resources faster.

Les 12:51

And so that I assume was the kind of the inspiration or the the problem that you were solving with Edcuration. Very cool. What What about it to like where, tell me a little bit more about the problem like what what what did you was what you started, you sought out to solve? Is that really kind of what what it what it was? Or did it evolve over time?

Timeri 13:15

The problem I set out to solve, I think we're still figuring out technologically speaking exactly the minute in the weeds, ways to make to solve that problem best for educators. But for sure, it's the same problem. It's the, you know, folks that are trying to sell folks have edtech, people are developing amazing solutions, amazing ways to teach things, amazing ways for kids to learn, leveraging, you know, the latest and greatest technologies. And so it's difficult for educators to really know the breadth of what's available to know what they should even be considering. It's really easy, because, as we talked about, they have so much work to do already, that oh, now I need to buy X, Y or Z and like, Where do I even start, and I have a full time job as it is. And so I have to, you know, kind of do the research and the due diligence at night or, and there was no one place. I mean, educators go to conferences, of course, those were shut down. They, you know, if you try if you have the budget to travel to the conference, and it works for your schedule, then you might see most of the products that are available there, but not every company can afford to exhibit at these at these conferences to or they might not choose to and so there could be really good solutions for your students that you're missing. There was no one place I mean, you can Google English curriculum but you get a whole bunch of crazy, crazy stuff. So what we do is we curate the highest quality instructional materials into one marketplace so that educators can start search for what they need using the language that they use and see the results that are available and then compare them against each other just like you and I would compare a Ford to a Toyota to a Honda we can look on on us kind of on a spreadsheet and EdCuration. The educators compare these instructional solutions.

Les 15:21

Is it kind of Consumer Reports style? Like, certain categories, and this gets a half red circle, this gets a full that kind of that's very cool. And the company tell us about the kind of the origin story the founding story was is 2018. Is that right when the company was right, yes.

Timeri 15:39

Yes. So we were founded and 2018. It was the end of 2017, a colleague and I were kind of putting our heads together and thinking of new ideas, and kind of really started spitballing on on this solution. And we actually went to Bozeman, Montana. We actually did. Yes, she is based out of Bend Oregon. And I'm here in Golden Colorado. And we said, let's let's brainstorm this idea of more, where's one place that we've never been that we both want to go? And so we rented this cute little Airbnb in downtown Bozeman and stayed there for a week and and 

Les 16:22

How did it size up? I mean, I mean, Bozeman is a great place. Obviously, that's where I live. So you know, I love it. But I mean, Bend is a great place and Golden. I've already did it. Did Bozeman meet your expectations? Like was it okay,

Timeri 16:33

For sure. Yeah, The only bummer is that it was it was like December, January or something so really cold.

Les 16:41

But like 30 below, probably, it's cold.

Timeri 16:45

But we did manage to get to a Hot Spring. But we mostly stayed inside and just brainstormed, you know?

Les 16:51

Who would have thought it all started in Bozeman. So what what came out of that that session? I mean, was it it was really just the idea. It was the it was in the confidence to launch this is that?

Timeri 17:04

Not exactly yet. What we put together is we had a vision for a solution. We knew what the problem was, we lived the problem on both sides. We bought curriculum and sold curriculum. And so we we came up with, you know, in our perfect world, what did we imagine this tech solution needed to be and needed to have. And so we we brainstormed this whole kind of scope of work list of functionalities that we then went and shopped around with different developers. And but we didn't end up actually building from that scope of work. So I'll tell you that story, because I think it's a good one that other founders can learn from. So we took that scope of work, we shopped it around, we probably had, you know, through our networks, you know, 10, good, prospective builders of the thing, narrowed it down to three that we liked. One builder said, no cost $100,000 to build what you're envisioning. One said it would cost about 30. And once that it would cost about 10. And we thought, what range, right, we thought 30 was probably like in the right ballpark, you know, we thought 10 wouldn't give us enough and 100 was probably gouging us a bit. And we liked the developer that, you know, was quoting us the 30,000. And, and in that period of time, we met with a local Golden accelerator called Traction, and they work with some startup companies out of Golden to try to help them launch. And they gave us some very important advice, which was, even though you've been living in this, you've been living this problem, and you're, you know, industry experts, don't go and build this thing for $30,000 quite yet, you know, with the money in your savings. So don't do that. They said, build a tiny little prototype, tiny, tiny, even a wireframe build something small, and then go share that thing you build with 100 potential customers. And so we did that. Great advice. Right. So that slowed us down by seven months. But that same developer did build us like a little prototype. You know, it's a functional prototype, real simple. And we were able then to share that with 50 different buyers of curriculum and 50 different sellers of instructional materials, and get their feedback and we took copious notes and from that created a much more robust comprehensive solution that we knew would be better received, you know, in the market. And so after that, also it gave us the time and the confidence to go out and raise our initial like friends and family round which we ended up raising, I think 260,000 Which we were prepared to kind of fun the 30k or so. elves, but this was a much smarter way to go about things right 30k wouldn't have taken us far enough, you know, the 260, let us build the product, it helped us, you know, we could start marketing it, we could start selling it. And we raised that on a SAFE. So, you know, so that money got us until we have actual paying customers and then could raise a proper pre-seed round.

Les 20:23

Excellent. I mean, I'm so glad for all of our founders out there that are listening. It's terrific advice. And so many, so many think of it as like a chicken egg problem, oh, I can't raise the money until I build the product. But I, you know, I and in order to raise the money, I have to have a product. It's like, No, you get creative, you do something simple. And then you actually can can can sort of define the roadmap and the requirements for what you want. How wrong were you, by the way, because that's always a surprise to it's like, I thought they wanted x and they actually wanted ABCD EFG? Like how wrong or right was kind of your initial stab?

Timeri 20:59

Well, our initial stab just wasn't comprehensive enough. It was too simple. And all of the users were informing details that kind of just rounded out the final solution in a way that that was much more useful than to the users.

Les 21:16

That's makes sense. Very cool. And where so once you you finally so you raise the seed round, or the pre-seed, or the friends and family round, I guess. And then you said that was a safe? What what what's the timing of all this, like in terms of when the when you're able to raise the pre-seed round after that? How many?

Timeri 21:35

Yeah, so let's, let's see, we think we we raised that friends and family in this kind of by the summer of 2019. And by fall of 2020, we had our first close on on a pre-seed round. And then we had a second close, I guess, maybe in 2021. And so that kind of pre seed round came in it $660,000, I think, from 260 to 660. And, and then after that, we managed to get a grant from the state of Colorado for $250,000. That definitely has been super helpful.

Les 22:20

Non-dilutive is always a good source at the pre-seed stage. 

Timeri 22:25

Non-dilutive, yeah. Gotta love Colorado. I don't know, maybe I would have been as supported in California, but I don't I don't think so I feel like the state has really gotten behind me as a founder and our mission driven company and women lead organizations, and it's been great.

Les 22:44

I gotta tell you, it's consistent on this podcast, we hear it. Every episode, I mean it is funny on a lot of episodes, even where the founders aren't in Colorado, they like pass through on their way to Utah or somewhere else. So the Colorado comes up a lot. But this is so consistent with what we hear a great state, highly supportive of entrepreneurs, and has been pretty much for forever. Well, since beginning, tech in Colorado. Yeah, for sure. That's great. So where so? So the platform's bill, you've got some kind of early customers, I assume? Who were they? Who were the first customers that said, we want to use this?

Timeri 23:21

I don't know if it's our very first but one of the one of the first five is still with us today. They're called Reading Plus, they're the, probably one of the biggest reading intervention programs in the market. So basically, so they have online reading support for kids grades, 3 through 12. So once, kids should be able to read, if they're behind, they can log into reading plus and get digital support. And so kind of like, you know, it can be used as intervention. So, you know, a certain population of kids are doing maybe the regular reading instruction, and then the ones that are a little behind can do reading plus and catch up. And that they say that their kid, the kids catch up, like a whole year's worth of reading after 26 hours of use or something. So it's a real real way to speed up kids that are behind.

Les 24:21

Yeah, amazing. Yeah. And, and what have you found, you know, there's always a difference between, you know, getting feedback from people that aren't paying suddenly switch on the, you know, the products real now they're paying customers, what, from the entrepreneurs perspective, what's changed what's gotten, you know, more challenging, more exciting.

Timeri 24:40

This is an interesting one, we're still working this one out. So that's for anyone that's listening. That's, you know, building a marketplace. What I did was especially because, you know, we knew we were going to be venture funded from the beginning. We had a small small bit of resources that my co-founder and I were able to put our money in, you know, in the beginning together, but we knew it would never be enough to really build this thing. And so, we, when you do that, when you take in, you know, investor money, you, you have to show growth, you have to, you know, use that you have to generate and ensure progress and all of that. And quickly, right, you need to show like right away that you're bringing in revenue. So, we intentionally picked a business model that we knew would and would generate revenue quickly. So what we did was we've got, we've got this marketplace, we've got sellers and buyers, and we knew it would be faster, to charge the sellers to market through the marketplace, then then to charge the buyers when they finally decided to buy. And that would take longer to like, build the buyers, you know, trust and, and comfort with this new way to purchase.

Les 26:05

Couldn’t you also stand to if you're a buyer, you could, if the if the payment models on the buyer, they could kind of circumvent by just using the marketplace to discover and go by direct right. So that doesn’t work right? Interesting. Interesting.

Timeri 26:18

And that's, I mean, that's just as much of the reason that we chose the business model that we did. And it worked for the goals that we set, like we were able, you know, we had revenue month one. Yeah. And it went up, you know? And

Les 26:33

I gotta ask, though, did it did it create sort of a strange incentive where it's like a pay to play like, in other words, the the sellers that are paying, like, you have to feature them, right. But what if they're not the best, or what if they're not fully vetted, or how, like, I can imagine there could be some complexity navigating that too.

Timeri 26:53

There's complexity, but I feel like we solve that problem. In a couple of ways, what we did is we allowed, first of all, we preceded the marketplace with products that we had great respect for having been in the industry for a long time. And we, we kind of gave visibility, every company can have one product on the marketplace for free. But in order to put additional products and in order to, you know, get leads sent to them directly, then they need to pay. So and then we developed an algorithm that promotes the kind of most efficacious products, the products and have the most evidence behind them for dramatically improving student learning. So, paid products show up before unpaid products, but better performing products show up before, you know paid poorly performing products, if you will. So, so we solve that through our algorithm. But the challenge then is that when you have all these sellers that have paid to play, if they don't get the ROI, in the first year, because you're new, you know that from what they paid, then then they they don't reinvest, and churn goes up, which isn't great. And so now that we've been around for two and a half years, we're in this place where we have to put all of our energy now, on bringing the educators we're always doing that. But but more aggressively, right. Then Then, and to kind of balance that out. I read from a marketplace building expert recently that which I hadn't read when I started. But I just recently read it. That said, focus on the side of the marketplace, that’s hardest to convert first, and I didn't do that I focused on the side that was easiest to convert. 

Les 28:49

Was that the cold start problem? Andrew Chen, is that the book?

Timeri 28:54

It was it was like a little blurb. Probably something on online on LinkedIn or something. But anyway,

Les 28:59

That's a good one, if you haven’t Andrew Chen and listeners out there that are trying to create network effect products and marketplaces, the Cold Start Problem by Andrew if you're listening to the podcast, like it and subscribe he's a big deal. Great, great investor and, but very, very knowledgeable on the subject. What about so we talked about some of the challenges now you got to grow grow the you know, the buyer side? What about growing the team? How's that been hiring and hiring and growing during COVID? Let’s not forget that. 

Timeri 29:39

It’s my favorite part of leading a company. You know, it's my favorite part of my last company and my favorite part of this company, and what I think is kind of my, my special gift is attracting and motivating talent for sure. And for me, the the methodology is to just love Allah Have her and give nothing but, you know, kudos and confidence into my team to be able to do what needs to be done. I rarely have people leave. I mean, I don't even know if I've had anybody leave, because they wanted to leave. Sometimes we’ve switch strategies.

Les 30:19

They always leave because they don't want to leave. I know. Yeah. Well, tell me about that. Yeah, tell me about that. It sounds like you can make good hire fast hiring decisions, you're that kind of leader?

Timeri 30:33

Well, you kind of have to be right. I mean, because you, you're trying to, you know, you need to demonstrate growth. And you need, we do a really good job here of tracking our goals and our progress to our goals each week. And so, you know, if it's not working out with a, you know, certain employee who I've given all the, you know, confidence in the world, they can do it. You know, some, sometimes you just have to pull the plug and move quickly. And sometimes it's, it's not even as much their performance, I was like, we engage this strategy, but it didn't render those results we wanted to do. So now we're gonna engage this strategy, and the person leading this other strategy isn't right for the next strategy. And so, and I think they understand, you know, I always support them in their efforts to find the next position for them. You know, but we have a, we have a really good team right now. And that feels so good. 

Les 31:29

That's amazing. Well, I'm glad you said that, because two takeaways for me, I mean, number one, for founders that are listening, just recognizing the importance of that, because it's very much a startup thing. Like this isn't, you know, this isn't 1000 person enterprise company that has like, resources to carry dead, not dead weights, the bad word I, but you know, it's, it's different in a startup environment, you have to you have to be efficient, right with your people and calculate. Yeah, and you have to do it quickly. Because ultimately, that's what's best for everyone. Right. That's how you survive and win. Like, that's how you make it to a, you know, to the next, fundraise and so on. So, um, I'm glad you you highlighted that, because I think it's important. And in the end, the number two, the other thing is, now you have a great team, like you said it like when you're willing to do that you end up with greatness. So awesome.

Timeri 32:19


Les 32:21

What about just kind of any, any other challenge is to highlight for early stage founders out there that you know, you just just to give them a give them a vote of confidence to keep pushing through, like, what do you what have you, what's worked for you when things get hard? And what are some of the challenges you've faced?

Timeri 32:39

You know, I mean, one thing that all founders that raise capital will tell you is that it's just so hard. And it's so stressful, because it means like, either go or no go right? Like, we're either gonna do this or not going to do this and, and sometimes you're like, halfway there and just feels like it's taking forever and you don't know how you're gonna get to the next level. And that was definitely how I felt but definitely the first three years of working on this is like, am I going to be able to raise and we're you know, we're kind of closing up a little bridge round right now and then we'll we'll raise a proper seed round soon. It's not the best time to with the economy…

Les 33:29

I'm glad I'm glad you said that. Because it's something we haven't talked about on the show yet but you know, people think like, oh, now's a bad time to raise but the difference is now you know, I would argue a year ago or 18 months ago, boy was raising easy boy were valuations easy, but boy, was that a bad time to raise because now you're so far out in front of your skis good luck catching up. So it's like it makes the next time harder when things are grounded and when things are normal. Now might be a great time to raise if you're good, you're great founder you've got a good company like shouldn't have any problem raising and now's a good time to raise so I don't know, I just challenge you on that a little bit.

Timeri 34:05

I mean, I do have I had one you know lead investor very interested in leading this next round, who like the whole firm put the brakes on making any investments hopefully that's short hopefully that's short lived. But uh, but I don't feel that same like oh no, Will I make it now I feel like I'll do it I don't know when I don't know exactly how but I've done it before you know two three times I'll do it again. You know

Les 34:30

You got this you got this Timeri. What any fun highlights like plans for the future exciting things other obviously got the fundraise coming up but what are the anything else fun or maybe macro strategy or mission like what do you want to what do you want to change in the world with with with Edcuration with the solution?

Timeri 34:52

Gosh, I feel like I'm so in the weeds. That the things I'm excited about are probably boring to your listeners. But it's cool though, because you know, you you adopt the MVP philosophy, right? Like, build the smallest thing that you can sell and make money off of right? Like, make it simple, and then learn from it and then grow from there. And so we really built like, something kind of basic, you know, that works. And that does what's supposed to do and has a lot of curriculum on there and educators and come and shop and all that works. And, and now we've just gone from where before we had like, you know, math, English history science, for example, to now we have like algebra, geometry, you know, fractions like, like, just getting so much more detailed and our ability to fine tune and, and, you know, make more unique offerings. So, yeah, we're excited about that.

Les 35:52

Yeah, you know, I think about the song, you know, reading and writing and arithmetic, like that used to be Yeah, right. That was curriculum. But you're right. There's like, there's so many fragments now. And so much of it crosses over channels, right, like, you know, I mean, it's all it all starting to blend. So sounds like we need to curate it a little bit. It sounds like,

Timer 36:15

we need one place where we can go and, and find the best teaching resources and teachers can get back to teaching and administrators can get back to running schools, and we're not spending time shopping, you know, they're just fast and easy,

Les 36:30

Right, it's like when I need something, and I go to Amazon, it's like, right there. It's like, another gonna have it, although I do like to shop local for just just to be clear. But anyway. So my last question for you today is one that I'm curious to get your perspective on his career as a career educator, as somebody as an Edupreneur, who is innovating, and changing the changing the status quo? What do you think the future of education looks like? How does it change? How does it evolve? And, you know, I assume it's not a doomsday obviously was like an exciting thing for you, but like, what is it like? What does it look like? And why does it make you exciting, excited?

Timeri 37:15

I think the future of education is going to look a lot like the way we entrepreneurs work, like the way kids are going to work in schools is going to be similar to the way that we entrepreneurs work. And so let me give you this example. When you and I went to school, we probably sat in desks and rows, right?You know, and had paper and pencil and like, did what we were told, you know,

Les 37:39

And if we did it wrong, a nun would hit us with the ruler. 

Timeri 37:43

Totally, on our knuckles. And, but now, you know, I don't know the percentage of schools that have one to one, you know, one device per kid, but pretty soon every school, every child will have a device for their learning. And what that enables, it actually enables schools to save money on HR, because, you know, today, everybody's trying to reduce class sizes. What about a future that looks like honestly, like my co-working space, which some schools are starting to build, by the way, or buy these co-working spaces for kind of like high school kids, and the kids have their own devices, and they have kind of like their own playlists of personalized learning plans for them based on their interests based on their skills. So if they need that, you know, extra 30 minutes of reading support, they get that, but the other kid that really wants to go do something with robotics, they can go do that. And there's actually fewer teachers, there's fewer teachers that are maybe more highly skilled, maybe with more like teacher's assistants, you know, TAs and maybe those TAs or high school kids are college students, right? I mean, I think there's ways to get to improve the economics of schools to make it more affordable, but actually do it a lot better and give kids more freedom and agency and engagement. It's a really, it's really exciting opportunity. My daughter's school. They just bought a co-working space to house some learning like this.

Les 39:16

Yeah, brilliant. I love it. Such a brilliant vision. And I gotta say, I kind of want to go to school in the future. It sounds like, it sounds like I'm missing out. That's very cool. Well, Timeri I just gotta thank you again, so much for being on the show. I think I speak for all of our listeners, so excited for what you're doing as an Edupreneur in Colorado in Golden. And just to conclude, could you please tell our audience where they can find you and Edcuration online?

Timeri 39:48

Sure, well, you can Google it will come up pretty fast. But is, is the marketplace for anything that anyone in a school or school district needs to buy supports student learning. And we're on LinkedIn and Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and all the things so, we’ll see you there.

Les 40:10

Thanks Timeri.

Timeri 40:12

Thank you Les.

Les 40:21

Thank you for listening to this week's episode of Found in the Rockies. You can find links in the show notes or go to to get transcripts, links and contact information for today's guests. If you liked what you heard and want more, please don't forget to rate, review, and subscribe to get notified as our new episodes drop every two weeks. We'll see you next time.