Above the Crowd

A Really Interesting Online Education Company in Korea: Megastudy

June 2, 2009:

Megastudy_logoToday’s New York Times has half page article on a billion dollar (US$) public Korean company named Megastudy.  My partner Peter Fenton and I had the luxury of meeting with this company a few years back, and I always had hoped to find the U.S. equivalent.  Truth be told, Business Week profiled the company two and a half years ago, but I dont think that U.S. entrepreneurs have created anything qutie like it.

Here are some quick notes on the company:

  1. Megastudy is at it’s core an online learning web site.
  2. The business model is subscription for each course.
  3. The “teacher” of the course gets something like 23% of the revenue for each class they teach.
  4. Because its online, a teacher can have an unlimited number of students.
  5. As a result, there are Megastudy teachers making over US$1mm/year in a country where the average teacher makes something like US$40K.
  6. In order to sort to the top of the list (and be popular), these teachers must be promotional, funny, engaging, effective.  Bottom line, they must be entrepreneurial.

Point #5 and #6 would create an interesting conundrum in the U.S.  Many here argue that U.S. teachers are underpaid, so in that sense it should be a huge welcome.  That said, I don’t think any teacher union in the U.S. would support the “eat what you kill” business model in use at Megastudy.  

grockit_horizontalWe have an investment in one interesting company that is borrowing part of its model from Megastudy, and part of the MMORPG world.  its a collaborative learning web site called Grockit.   Here is the TechCrunch review.

Like I said, I had always hoped to discover the “Megastudy” of the U.S.  I think its great for the teachers, and an awesome business to boot.  If you see something like it, please let me know.

Note:  Many commenters will likely note that the market for elective education is much different in Korea, where parents are obsessed with their children’s education, is far different from here in the U.S.  This is a valid point, but I would still be interested in this model here in the U.S.

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