We make the ideal match between the senior high school student with their ideal major and future job.
Pitch us on your solution
At Studersity we want to help senior high school students to choose their ideal major and potentially their future and dream job.
We are solving this problem through a science and technological based vocational guidance platform. This platform has science-based test that links the student’s results with the jobs of the future, and then translate this to the existing majors. Also, with an AI algorithm this process will be faster and more precise.
With Studersity we could help to prevent that 6 million young people of
LATAM drop out of college. In addition, we could help to raise the college
graduate rate, since only 10 million students graduate from college.
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What is the problem you are solving?
Currently we are working in Mexico, where around 3.3 million students enroll at college per year. But 40% of these students dropped out of college or changed their major due to the lack of vocational guidance. In addition, Mexican families lose around USD$45 million because their children are not prepared to choose a right major. Also, colleges lose around USD$50 million because students leave. On the other hand, in LATAM 20 million students enroll at college. But 30% drop out of college due to the lack of vocational guidance. This means that USD$82 million are lost because freshman year students are not prepared to choose a major.
The lack of vocational guidance is related to the lack of self-knowledge. Education is based on hard-skills and not on soft-skills, which makes the students know about things and not themselves. Also, the lack or even the overflow of information that there are about certain majors and at the end where can you work. In addition, expectations from their parents or even friends can have certain influence in this decision.
Who are you serving?
We are working with Mexican senior high school students that want to enroll at college. These young people are around 17 to 20 years old and are sure that want to enroll college and feel insecure about enrolling to certain major.
First, we talked to these students to see if their problem was the lack of career guidance and how they feel about it. Then, scientifically we build up a test that could measure certain traits, but also could have their attention as much. Later, they take the test, we receive feedback on their impression towards it, and we deliver their results.Finally, we ask them if the majors that we suggested were the ones they expected and if they work. After their freshman year, we approach them again to know if the major that they are in is the one we suggested.
What is your solution?
In Studersity we are developing a vocational guidance web-platform for senior high school students that want to enroll to college. This web-platform has a vocational science-based test, which is based only for LATAM with a current sociocultural context. This test evaluates the student’s abilities, personality, aptitudes, and interests. Once we have the results, we match them with the jobs of the future, and then we translate them to existing majors. Finally, we give to the student a description of his or hers traits, in which study-areas he or she is better at, and a list of potential majors that he or she could study. In addition, we are creating an AI algorithm that can predict certain personality traits to have a more precise match.
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Where our solution team is headquartered or located:Guadalajara, Jal., México
Our solution's stage of development:
Describe what makes your solution innovative.
What makes us innovative from what already exists is our approach to vocational guidance. We have developed our scientific-based test is less than 3 years and it is based only for LATAM. There are vocational guidance tests out there, but they have more than 500 questions, are not accurate because they were developed from the 60’s to the 80’s, and most important they are only made for Anglo-Saxons. In Studersity, we developed a test in less that 3 years for a LATAM approach. We have less than 200 questions that evaluate different criteria, from personality to abilities, and we have 90% reliability index. In addition, from what is in the market we are approximately 50% less expensive.
Why do you expect your solution to address the problem?
With Studersity we would help students find their vocation in a fast, but reliable way. Consequently, students can make an informed decision and based on their skills. In the short term, students will not drop out during college or would made minor changes to their major of choice. In the long term, based on their major the students would find their ideal job and will be able to know themselves better.
From our studies, we have been working with more than 3,000 students. From these students, 85% chose the major we suggested and 90% of them told us that Studersity helped them in certain way. Then from 85% of the students that chose our major only 5% changed their major. For this experiment, we need to wait for approximately 2 years in order to prove that we have connected these students to their vocation.
Select the key characteristics of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean your solution serves (or will serve).
In which countries do you currently operate?
In which countries will you be operating within the next year?
How many people are you currently serving with your solution? How many will you be serving in one year? How about in five years?
Currently, we are working in our second pilot with 250 students. However, during the past two years we have been working with more than 3,000 students.
From today to a year, we expect to have worked with more than 2,000 students. Finally, but not least, in five years we will like to have served more than 20,000 students.
What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?
Our goals for the next year, are divided in three sections: technology, research and development, and sales. We want to have served more than 2,000 users. Generate at least, USD$25,000 in sales. Have 95% of reliability index in our test with no more than 250 questions. That our platform is fully functional by our own code.
For the next five years our main goal is to consolidate Studersity by having a stablished company at least in Mexico. Also, we would like to expand our operations to Chile, Colombia, and perhaps Argentina. Not only we would like to generate an income of more than USD$500,000 but also to have a unit that donates Studersity’s program to at least 10,000 people in LATAM. In addition, we want to have our own AI algorithm working, without using any AI service. For research and development we want to generate more knowledge by having publishing papers and by updating our studies.
What are the barriers that currently exist for you to accomplish your goals for the next year and for the next five years?
The barriers to accomplish our goals for this year are:
Our main barrier to achieve our goals is COVID19, we were currently working with different institutions, but we had to cancel the programs. As a team, distance is a barrier because the team is in Montreal (Rubén), Monterrey (Elva), and Andrea (Guadalajara). Sometimes is hard to coordinate meetings because of the distance and sometimes is hard to make things happen. The sales we want to accomplish, an economic crisis is happening worldwide, and Mexico is not the exception. Consequently, we will not be working with that much users so we cannot increase our reliability index.
On the other hand, the barriers that we could have for the next five years could be:
The team, not having coders that can build up an AI code as sophisticated as we want it. Not knowing how the markets that we want to expand work, not only by knowing how they solve the problem we want to solve, but also to adapt their social traits to Studersity’s test. Consequently, not being able to sale enough of our memberships. Finally, not being able to publish papers due to the lack of research material.
How are you planning to overcome these barriers?
To overcome the barriers of our goals for this year:
By having the team in different parts, Andrea could be traveling to Monterrey and Montreal so her partners can see commitment and feel motivated. In addition, have a daily 15-minute meeting in order to know how things are going. To accomplish the sales, maybe the way that can be solve is to understand the market and generate a need. In addition, try to partner with different institutions that have problems with their vocational guidance programs. As a result, we would be working with more users and the reliability index could increase depending on the results.
To overcome the barriers for the next five years:
By having Ruben at Montreal, which is one of the largest AI clusters, we can start searching for coders with these expertise by having them as employees with certain amount of equity. If we want to expand, some of the team members, like Elva and Andrea, will need to travel in order to understand how different markets work. In addition, some people from the research and development team should go to understand how Studersity’s test could be adapted. If these is understood and by having partnerships with other startups or even schools, the sales could happen. Finally, we can have enough money to publish papers and we will try to have partnership with Mexico’s Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) in order to have not only more funds, but also help with the articles.
If you selected “I am planning to expand my solution to Latin America/Caribbean,” please provide an overview of your expansion plans. What is the market opportunity for your business or product in Latin America and the Caribbean?
We would like to expand to Colombia, but we have not figure out the plan yet. Currently, we are figuring out a way to work with the COVID-19 crisis.
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How many people work on your solution team?
Currently we are four members at Studersity. We are working two full-time and two part-time.
For how many years have you been working on your solution?
Why are you and your team best-placed to deliver this solution?
Studersity is formed by Elva R. Gonzales (CRDO), Ruben Valencia (CTO), Alejandro Cuevas (intern), and Andrea Cázares (CEO).
Elva R. Gonzales is in charge of the Research and Development of Studersity and has a Ph.D in Educational Science focusing mainly on vocational guidance. In addition, she is the CEO of Instituto Teneryfee, which has more than 25 years in market specializing in vocational guidance and has been involved in UANL at the vocational guidance research department for more than 35 years.
Rubén Valencia is Studersity’s CTO and currently is studying a post-doctorate involved in software development specializing in UX. Also, Ruben is CEO of ChocolatUX, a software development agency focused on UX, and has a Ph.D. in Social Science. Ruben not only understands software development and people behaviors through science, but also how to build successful tech-based startups.
Alejandro Cuevas is Studersity’s intern and he is currently studying Business Creation and Development at Tec de Monterrey. He has been working at TEC in the institutional communication department and is a photographer.
Andrea Cázares is Studersity’s CEO and she is currently studying Business Creation and Development at Tec de Monterrey. She is part of TEC’s mentor network and has worked for different companies related to the innovation and tech industry. Andrea understands different techniques of project management and innovation.
With what organizations are you currently partnering, if any? How are you working with them?
Currently, we are partnering with 6 organizations. We are working with Instituto Teneryfee, which is in Monterrey and has more than 25 years expertise in vocational guidance, they help us by checking and analyzing our research and development in order to bring a scientific-based product. Also, we are working with Six-seconds, an organization that focuses on emotional intelligence, to develop certain studies on emotional intelligence and partner it with our test. We are currently working with Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo León (UANL) to test our product with their high school students. With Tec de Monterrey, they help us with mentoring, acceleration programs, and networking. ChocolatUX, is a software development agency focused on UX, they are the developers of Studersity’s site. Finally, but not least, we are working with the International Coach Federation Mexico with a collaboration of Mexico’s Federal Government by developing vocational guidance workshops for Jalisco.
What is your business model?
Studersity is a vocational guidance web-platform. What makes our service different from others is that this test is science based only for LATAM because the other tests are for Anglo-Saxon people. In addition, the other tests were made during the 60’s to the 80’s and Studersity’s test is for nowadays sociocultural context. Our test is less than 200 questions, the other ones can have more than 500 questions, and evaluates different areas of the student and has a 90% reliability index according to our scientific-based studies.
Our main user and even costumer are senior high school students that do not know what to study and are sure that they want to enroll to college. However, the ones that are paying, mainly, are their parents who are worried about their child’s decision and they want their children to make a good major choice. Once we have positioning among students, we can partner with high schools that have vocational guidance programs. Also, this high schools are worried about if their vocational guidance program is enough to help their students.
Finally, we are making money by selling Studersity’s memberships to students and in a future to high schools.
What is your path to financial sustainability?
We are trying to bring money based on selling our service to students and later to high schools. We are thinking to have financial sustainability in an organic way for the first years. On the long term, we maybe raising investment in order to scale up our startup in rapid way.
Why are you applying to the TPrize Challenge?
We are applying to TPrize to see if there are more experts willing to help us develop Studersity. In addition, we would like to connect with the best academic institutions that are doing research on vocational guidance in order to have feedback and expand our network. Furthermore, as a team we want to be part of this community that looks for helping LATAM's education.
If we are selected, we could power Studersity fully. We would invest that money in R&D, sales, marketing, and technology to improve our service. In addition, we will be mentored by the finest experts in education and consequently we could improve Studersity's test.
What types of connections and partnerships would be most catalytic for your solution?
With what organizations would you like to partner, and how would you like to partner with them?
We would like to partner with the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Monica Flores from Man Power, and Jill Castek.