UQ start-up smashes crowdfunding objective

15 Apr 2015

UQ alumnus and entrepreneur Pablo Farias Navarro’s latest venture exceeded his crowdfunding goal of $4000 in just 11 hours and grew to over $20 000 within a couple of days.

In 2012, Pablo founded Zenva, an online e-learning platform where students can learn programming, gaming and app-making skills.

Pablo’s latest and “most ambitious” project required him to create a detailed course for students to build 15 mobile games.

“I wanted to create a really comprehensive course on gaming and I didn’t want to take the risk of creating this course then find out that no one was interested,” Pablo said.

“I set a goal of $4000 however this course received so much interest and attention that we raised $20 000 in a few days. From my crowdfunding success, I found out people are really interested in this course.”

Now Brisbane-based at Rivercity Labs, Zenva has over 60 000 students over two e-platforms.

“Software, apps and games are here to stay. If you’re able to understand how to make games or apps it gives you an advantage in the current economy,” Pablo said.

“IT skills are very much in demand. A lot of these new technologies come out, and what we do is make courses on these new things pretty much as soon as they come out.

“Through Zenva, people don’t have to wait long until they get training in new technologies.”

Dr Tim Kastelle, Senior Lecturer in innovation, economic growth and evolutionary economics at UQ Business School says there is room for growth for education start-ups. 

“With education, we have had early systems that have existed for hundreds of years. We have the capability to deliver things digitally that are currently done face to face,” Dr Kastelle said.

“It’s one of those areas where people are predicting huge levels of disruption for existing players and huge levels of opportunity as new start-ups.

“Education in particular is a bit of a hot area right now, there’s huge number of people experimenting in that area.”

Pablo says that e-learning is a great channel for teaching large volumes of students because “is it is scalable. In person, I could never teach 70 000 students. But that’s possible with an online resource.

“The fact that it’s online means that it doesn’t matter if there are 50, 500 000 or 5 000 000 students.

“People can watch from anywhere in the world.

 “I like the idea that people can learn skills and make their own projects. A lot of people have ideas but don’t know how to implement them.

“I like the fact that teaching these skills online can help people change careers, start a business and   `do all the things they want to do.”

Pablo’s Udemy or Zenva courses can be found online.