Entrepreneurship is difficult even when a concept is sound. Many entrepreneurs have had to pivot and make a fundamental change to their business if their product or service failed to meet the needs of the intended market. This is the tactic that Obanor Chukwuwezam and Ogunlana Olumide, the co-founders of Prepclass, had to employ to make their company thrive.
Serial entrepreneur Obanor Chukwuwezam is testament to trying and trying again until you succeed. Chukwuwezam had launched two failed e-commerce startups before he and his co-founder, Ogunlana Olumide, started Prepclass in 2013.
Prepclass is an EdTech (educational technology) company that focuses on connecting potential learners with skilled tutors. It supplies indigenous learning / academic alternatives that offers each student a tailored learning programme. It also focuses on linking learners with qualified tutors.
"Our goal is to break the formal education norm by offering tutors who have anything that a client / learner might want to know."
But in business, as Chukwuwezam can confirm, progress is not always as linear as we would like, and his online educational platform was not always what it is today. When Prepclass launched in 2014, it was a platform that offered test and exam preparation help for students in Nigeria through past papers and study guides. At a time when there was a need for school exams to be taken digitally in Nigeria, Prepclass was ahead of its time.
However, the co-founders soon realised the idea was maybe what the market wanted but not quite what it needed. "A few months after launching our test product, students, and sometimes parents, were calling to request detailed answers to some of the questions on our platform. Some even went so far as asking for the presence of a tutor. It was then that we realised the demand for physical tutoring in Nigeria."
It was time to pivot - and this time they managed to make a transition that would elevate their e-platform into a key educational resource.
"We realised that parents were more interested in having a physical tutor that would assist their children, rather than just some electronic interface. So we started experimenting around the tutor marketplace and it turned out to be more interesting than we anticipated, so much that in 2015 we served about 14 000 hours in billable tutoring hours, paying tutors around 6 dollars per hour."
Prepclass is not just about academics, however. The site details that the platform also has specialists in various non-academic areas, such as languages, various musical instruments, make-up, culinary skills, bead making and more.
This EdTech platform is currently available only in Lagos, but its energetic founders are in the process of extending their offering to Abuja and Port Harcourt, with the intention of eventually taking the service to the whole of Africa.