“There’s a lot that Can Be Done Before Raising Capital”: EdTech Expert

Entrepreneur Stephen Jull shared his journey from a teacher to business leader, during IFE Conference 2024.
Stephen Jull at IFE Conference 2024.
Jull is CEO of Epic for Kids, a digital reading platform for children with 50 million subscribers. Epic provides free access to educators and is used by over two million teachers in the classroom. (Photo: Amirhossein Hosseini / TecScience)

In the remote north of Canada, Stephen Jull left teaching to start technology-supported education companies.

Jull is the CEO of Epic for Kids, an organization dedicated to making reading more accessible to youngsters, and it has earned international recognition.

During his panel titled Driving Change and Impact: The Unicorn EdTech Experience at the IFE Conference 2024, held by the Institute for the Future of Education, Jull explained that there was a boom in educational technology following the pandemic, compelling educational institutions to reinvent themselves and offer new ways of delivering education to people.

In this situation, he pointed out the opportunity for academics and researchers to make a similar transition from the classroom and laboratory to entrepreneurship and the establishment of technology and educational businesses.

An unusual advice he gave was to preserve a certain level of naivety, not about the educational or technological subject being produced, but about beginning a business despite a lack of expertise in entrepreneurship.

“That is how a lot of people start, even if you don’t have all the pieces of the business together. Being an expert can sometimes be a hindrance, and sometimes a little naivety makes you less afraid to take the step”, said during an interview with TecScience.

“There is a lot that can be done before raising capital,” says an education technology specialist. (Photo: Amirhossein Hosseini / TecScience)

First Steps to Being an Entrepreneur

Jull described his story and identified some of the main obstacles and possibilities for his company’s development, particularly before presenting the idea to investors.

“It is important to have a great idea, an excellent team, and proof of concept. Many startups forget there’s a lot you can do without raising any capital at all,” he commented.

Before worrying about financing, technology-based educational businesses can focus on developing a minimum viable product, building momentum, and even earning some profits, no matter how little.

Jull believes that in places such as Latin America, additional variables support the successful adoption of educational technology projects, such as a culture of collaboration and a desire for the region to advance together.

When considering finance, rigorous planning and the development of strong concepts are required before seeking investors or individuals to join the projects.

According to his perspective, entrepreneurs should not underestimate the value of connections and support networks, as they are one of the foundations of business success.

“The more people that you know in your network the more people that help you in your business. It is fundamental to long-term success to have good friends in and outside your startup that you can lean on and trust”, he affirmed.

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