Twenty years ago, my family immigrated to North America and my mother, despite having a Master's in English, spent her first year in North America bagging groceries.
It was only through sheer perseverance and will did she work her way up to what she's doing today...
She's an engineering manager at a Healthcare IT company in Maryland.
Witnessing this as a child, I saw how higher education did little for her. Many will say that "college is the key to a brighter future," but in my experience, this has never been true.
Learning is the true key. And it doesn't have to be boxed into the structures of higher education. In fact, it can often be more powerful when it's not.
Looking at the numbers, we can already tell that colleges are failing us. Only 27% of college graduates land a job that relates to their major and 53% of college graduates are either unemployed or working a job that doesn't require a college degree.
Up until recently Universities have had a monopoly on education and job training.
But no longer is that the case. Anyone on the planet with an internet connection has access to unlimited information. With just a few taps you can learn to write code, perform CPR, or even start an internet business.
With the dawn of the internet, information has never been more accessible; however, world-class coaching and mentorship is still reserved for the 1% who can afford to pay tuition at a top university.
With Virtually, we aim to change this...
Why should access to the world leading experts on a topic be made only available to the elite? We believe that anyone should have access to world-class mentorship and community no matter who you are or where you are.
At Virtually, we believe that if you can remove geography as a barrier to learning... then you can make education 10x more accessible and 100x more affordable.
And that's exactly what we're aiming to do.
With Virtually, anyone can build their own online educational program. There are great teachers all around us... why should college professors be the sole arbitrators for job training?
If anything... these individuals are the exact wrong people we should be learning from. Many have never been to industry or if they have been... it's been so long that those skills aren't even relevant anymore.
More and more people are seeing this trend and opting to learn through virtual apprenticeships and bootcamps.
Just to name a few:
And these programs are working because they allow individuals to learn incredibly relevant skills from industry experts in a fraction of the time compared to a typical University program.
Some of them even utilize something called an Income Share Agreement which allows students to completely forgo paying the institutions should they fail to land a job in the industry for which they were training.
Financing mechanisms like this align incentives between students and program and lead to better job outcomes.
We desperately need more of these programs. Not just in software engineering- but in every vertical for which education can be seamlessly delivered in a remote setting.
Unfortunately, we've discovered that some of the individuals most equipped to start programs like this don't have the resources of an institution (i.e. engineering team, registrar, marketing division, admissions team, etc...).
This is where Virtually comes in.
We're the infrastructure layer that allows these programs to scale. We provide all the necessary tools that online educators need to build and scale their program.
Everything like payment processing, live classes, and student management.
Currently, programs are either spending a fortune hiring a team of engineers to custom build their own software or are duct-taping dozens of solutions together like Zoom, Slack, Calendly, Squarespace, and many others.
With Virtually, you don't need to do either. We bring everything together so you can focus on what matters most: building a thriving education program.
If you're someone who is currently building an online education business, reach out to us. We want to hear what you're struggling with and how we can help.
We know that if we succeed in this mission, the world will be more connected and educated than ever before- and opportunities that were once only available to the wealthy will be available to everyone...
Let's get started.
- Ish, Founder & CEO, Virtually
Ish is the Founder & CEO of Virtually (YC S20).