Do you want to learn a new skills? Either for pursuing a passion or hacking a new professional skill for future career? Shanghai-based startup Skillbank attempts to make these goals easier to accomplish, and more fun.
Skillbank is online peer skill-sharing platform to list and book great classes and experiences in the city. Every individual who has expertise on any subject can apply to open classes, and then market their own courses on various social media after being approved by the platform. At the same time, learners can search the platform for interesting courses close to them. Then, the trainee and the learner can take the one-to-one courses both online or offline according to their specific conditions.
Skillbank has listed courses on a wide-range of subjects ranging from foreign language learning, flower arrangement, cocktail-mixing, cooking to adventures sports, how to drive cars, how to put one makeups, or even how to fly a drone.
The skill trading on Skillbank is based on a virtual currency system. So the interaction between trainers and learners is more like two like-minded friends sharing knowledge on a certain topic rather than a more traditional Teacher and Student relationship.
Therefore, Elaine Zhou, founder of the company, positioned Skillbank as a skill-based social networking platform rather than an online education service, and that’s exactly why they are not going into any vertical training sectors.
“We recommend users to take the courses offline”, said Elaine. She noted that although online students can chat with their teachers in real time or via e-mail, the medium is not as good as the many nuances associated with face-to-face interactions.
“Sometimes, offline training is compulsory for the courses, like how can you learn gardening without getting your hands dirty with earth, or guitar performance without playing the instrument? Our course approval system will eliminate projects, like driving courses, to eliminate safety concerns.” She added that online course will be a secondary option in case the trainer and student are beyond convenient travel distance.
Elaine Zhou came up with the idea of Skillbank when she was studying international design and business management at Domus Academy. After working as an global online marketing expert in China for seven years, Elaine decided to build this idea into a startup with software engineer Cathy Mu. The two girls began the project last March at Shanghai-based incubator InnoSpace.
Skillbank was launched in mid-August last year for desktop. Elaine says that most of Skillbank users are young people between 20-30 years old.
The team is now optimizing its mobile site to keep up with users’ needs for mobile service. The company has previously received pre-angel investment and it is now planning to raise the angel round for developing a mobile app.
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