Today’s interview is with the founder of Angel Ed, Navah Fuchs. Angel Ed is a crowdfunding platform connecting students of all ages committed to higher education with individual and corporate donors invested in bringing about a brighter tomorrow.
How did you form the idea for Angel Ed?
My professional background is in business development, and I worked as the director for a data development company, focusing on local search and local online marketing. Through this experience I became inspired by how innovation can solve problems. My passion has always been education, and one specific issue that was on my mind was around the growing number of students in the US who are accruing student loan debt while increasingly finding it challenging to get a job. This was how the idea for Angel Ed came about.
Describe the value that Angel Ed brings to the market.
Angel Ed solves two major problems: student loan debt and unemployment. We help students become as debt-free as possible by giving them access to the right scholarship opportunities, while providing them with guidance from a mentor in their desired industry or personality. We work closely with scholarship organizations to help them find the right students to fill their spots.
Secondly, companies who are hiring waste tens of thousands of dollars every year trying to find the right candidates to fill their roles. We work side by side with companies who are actively hiring to match recent college graduates with jobs in their fields. The result is students with less school debt and more employability while saving companies money on the hiring process and ensuring greater retention of top talent.
What stage of development is Angel Ed in now?
Right now, we are between the ideation and execution phase. We currently have 100 students participating in our beta test, 65 mentors guiding them, and 5 relationships with fellowships. Our crowdfunding platform is opening to the public Friday October 4.
How does Angel Ed earn its revenue?
Angel Ed is a non-profit organization supported through the scholarships with which we connect applicants. We also generate revenue through the events and classes we hold.
Have you learned any significant lessons while developing your startup?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that every startup is going to have difficulty finding a way to focus on its market segments. Our initial intention was to launch our service nationally. We quickly found out that it’s near impossible to take a product or service national and be successful without providing valuable data to receive accreditation for your claim. We scaled back our market segment to focus only on the Boston area first. This has allowed us to build mutually beneficial relationships, while attempting to prove what we are trying to accomplish for higher educational learning and from an employment perspective. By consolidating our efforts, we were able to take advantage of multiple value propositions that would have not been viable had we first launched nationally.
When you were a kid, did you ever have any interesting business ideas that you played out?
Yes, when I was little my school would offer soup at lunch for one dollar. I liked them so much that my mom would buy me cases of the same soup to have at home. I realized they were popular soups, so I thought I’d undercut the competition by selling these soups to my friends for 50 cents. It turned out that the retail cost of each soup container was 66 cents. Even though I was underselling the competition, I was personally losing money on my supply-chain needs. It was an early lesson in operations – always makes sure you validate your pricing model.
Does Angel Ed have any upcoming milestones this year?
We’re having a launch party on October 4th, 2013, and we plan on launching our website on the same day. The launch party will be held at the Stadium. We’re excited to have politicians and CEOs at the event, but it’s also open to the public. In addition to the launch party, right now we’re piloting our CEO 101 series at the Exponential TechSpace, where female CEOs and other C-level executives are mentoring aspiring female leaders. We really look forward to watching this program grow.
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