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WeTeachMe founders go from strangers to Silicon Valley in six months

Friday, 7 October 2011 | By Oliver Milman

An Australian start-up is currently touring Silicon Valley in a bid to secure $3 million in funding, just six months after the five founders met each other at a tech industry event.


WeTeachMe is an online resource that links people who want to learn a skill with people who can teach them, via uploaded videos. The business was profiled by StartupSmart in August.


The start-up’s stunningly rapid ascent began in April at Launch48, a mentored weekend-long event where budding entrepreneurs are put into teams in order to create a new business.


Despite the five founders of WeTeachMe not knowing each other before creating the business, it is now on the verge of moving to the US, should it manage to successfully lure funding from investors.


After pitching at the Gateway event in California, the WeTeachMe team has met with five venture capitalists, adding to the interest it has received from investors in Australia.


The business is anticipating $1 million revenue within its first 12 months, with a plan to be cashflow positive within 16 months.


Kym Huynh, one of the founders, tells StartupSmart from Silicon Valley that the business could relocate if it does manage to get US backing.


“We came over here for the introductions and the atmosphere and it’s crazy – people here are so talented that it’s a little intimidating,” he says.


“We’ve got some more meet-and-greets in Australia and then we have to decide whether we want to move to Silicon Valley or not.”


“In terms of investors, in Australia they are more interested in the business model and how it will make money. Here, in the US, they focus on the idea and the people behind it.


“Every day here has been like a tornado, things are moving so fast. We prepared well – our networks in Sydney and Melbourne put us in contact with the right people. Everyone in the US is happy to help out and have a coffee.”


Huynh says that the founders are looking for an investor who can offer intellectual capital as well as the $3 million in funding.


He adds that a potential rival, New York-based Skill Share, recently raised $3.1 million, raising hopes of an increased focus by investors on the concept.


“We see that as validation for our idea, rather than as competition,” he says. “Within three months we want to be across Australia and then, potentially, expand to Silicon Valley within six months.”


“The pace people work at here is incredible. Australia has a growing start-up scene but it’s good to immerse ourselves here and learn about how good you have to be to make it.”