Entrepreneur of the Week: Skilldeer's Orkun Gedik and Philipp Tachas

The educational version of Airbnb or Booking.com offers classes and programmes, ranging from make up to cooking or perfume
Entrepreneur of the Week: Skilldeer's Orkun Gedik and Philipp Tachas
By Lubna Hamdan
Fri 12 Oct 2018 10:00 AM

Tell us how your business model works?

Philipp Tachas: It’s simple. The easiest way to describe it is as the educational version of Airbnb or Booking.com. We partner with qualified educational providers and instructors, digitise their schedules, optimise their content and list their classes with a price advantage on our website. This significantly eases the process for users to search, find and enroll in suitable classes or activities based on their price, time, location or age requirements. Another important aspect of our business it to make sure that all our partners are meeting our quality standards and that we put together an unparalleled collection of learning experiences. Therefore, we spend a significant amount of time searching, comparing and vetting our listed partners to ensure users have access to the widest portfolio of leading educational providers.

What are some of your biggest challenges at the moment?

Orkun Gedik: Our main issue has always been finding and hiring the right talent to keep up with the strong growth. We have always had high standards when it comes to company culture and having a diversified team, which we don’t want to compromise on. To overcome this challenge, we focus a lot of our efforts on hiring new talent. More importantly, our amazing team helps fulfil many open tasks and current gaps by going an extra mile with our customers and our product offering.

How difficult has it been to attract funding?

PT:  We are funded by an individual investor from the region who believes in the concept as much as we do. What makes it extraordinary is that, although our investor is from a traditional business background and has little experience with start-ups, he has given us all the trust and credit to bring Skilldeer to life from inception. I truly hope that more investors from this region will follow this example and give other startups the same chance to build something unique as he has done.

What is your growth rate at the moment?

OG: We have achieved a very healthy growth rate of 20 percent per month on average since our launch in May 2017. Due to our strong performance, we recently received another funding tranche that not only puts us in a comfortable financial situation but also allows us to grow our team, expand to other markets and increase our brand awareness. One additional interesting fact about our business is that many of our customers start to purchase classes and courses of high value such as cooking or make-up diploma programmes without calling us upfront anymore. This gives us a lot of confidence that we are on the right track and that the trust in our brand and platform is growing steadily and surely.

What are your expansion plans for Skilldeer and by when do you expect to fulfil them?

PT: We want to continue our strong growth, which we have achieved over the last year, by reaching out to more customers and giving them the confidence to use our platform. This means they can experience convenience coupled with our unique portfolio, best price guarantee and flexible cancellation policy. We also have clear plans to expand within the region starting with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain by Q2 2019. We have already seen interest from these markets and are receiving inquiries. In fact, some customers have even booked their trip to the UAE to attend our courses, which again shows the trust we are gaining from them.

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