Australian start-up OpenLearning will deliver 15 per cent of the public university courses in Malaysia this year through massive open online courses (MOOCs) – a massive coup for a little Aussie start-up which has only been funded since early-2014.
OpenLearning co-founder and chief executive Adam Brimo is globally focused – it was this drive and the innovative technology behind the initiative that led Australian digital incubator muru-D to choose OpenLearning as part of it’s initial intake.
Along with nine other companies, OpenLearning participated in a six-month program in 2014 funded by Telstra-backed start-up incubator muru-D.
“We had not participated in an incubator program before and decided to do it as Telstra was running it, and also due to the mentors involved,” Brimo says. “Telstra is a big name in technology as an investor and mentor.”
“Telstra is a big name in technology as an investor and mentor.”– OpenLearning co-founder and chief executive Adam Brimo
How it works
Muru-D kicked off in October 2013. It has completed one full program and is in the middle of its second program with 10 start-ups.
The entrepreneurs work with mentors and attend weekly master classes. Muru-D injects $40,000 into the business and takes 6 per cent equity.
“The goal of the program is to make better entrepreneurs,” muru-D entrepreneur-in-residence and head coach Mick Liubinskas says.
Companies applying for the program are not necessarily aligned with Telstra and come from a wide range of industries.
“Telstra came up with the concept to drive internal change and to make a contribution externally,” Liubinskas explains. “We are looking for companies that are globally focused and innovative – the technology innovation needs to be new rather than a twist on an old idea.”
This year, in addition to the contract with the Malaysian government, OpenLearning is looking to double its workforce and increase student and course numbers.
Brimo says the experience helped refine his company’s strategy and the involvement with Telstra has given it added credibility.
“When seeking work with large companies and government they are interested in your existing shareholders,” he says. “So it is good to have a well-regarded corporate investor.”
- Muru-D is a start-up accelerator backed by Telstra
- Muru-D’s goal is to help Australia become a centre of digital business
- The muru-D incubator offers a six-month mentoring program, tailored acceleration services and investment to early stage start-ups
- Muru-D’s second intake of 10 groups is underway.