Communication and feedback are key to building successful institutions. Yet, in higher education the process of connecting students and university staff is often unorganized and inefficient, leaving both sides stuck with their problems.
Unitu aims to implement a central point where all parties involved can exchange constructive feedback and work on solutions together.
Introduce your startup and give a short description of what you are doing.
Unitu provides a smart way for universities to listen to the student voice and enhance the student experience.
E-mails and the various forms of communication have created virtual distances between student, staff and their student unions.
We believe students and staff are partners in the delivery of quality education. So we’ve embedded this philosophy into our software by allowing students to collaboratively raise and resolve ideas, feedback and praise with their peers and tutors.
Unitu provides online academic networks that connect students, staff and course reps so that feedback and communication can be collected and organised effectively giving the student voice a platform to be heard.
Who are the founders, how did you meet, what are your different roles in the startup.
Unitu was founded in 2012 by Anish Bagga. While completing his last year of university at LSE he was inspired by the research he conducted into educational technology for his dissertation to build upon his findings. Anish takes care of sales and customer development.
Through his networks he partnered with Vladimir Radzivil who became Unitu’s CTO. Bringing with him a wealth of experience and imagination that has helped push Unitu forward.
Lastly, Ignacio Willats joined Unitu as a co-founder in 2014 after working with the team for 6 months. Ignacio takes a lead in Business development. Crunching numbers and making sense of the user data to ensure Unitu builds effectively.
What is the main problem in education that you aim to solve.
Listening to students is key to being able to enhance the student and educational experience.
Students and staff often feel disconnected as a community which leaves students unable to feel confident in providing constructive feedback. Which ultimately leaves both sides unsatisfied.
Utilising emails as other industries have found, is an often time consuming and ineffective way to communicate with those you provide.
Unitu create online networks that enable students to easily communicate and collaborate with not only their peers but also their staff and course reps. Enabling feedback to be collected , understood and managed in a simple and seamless way.
Our analytics dashboard enables university management to quickly assess how well departments are managing feedback and which areas need closer attention.
In which markets / regions are you active. What markets / regions are next.
Unitu launched a pilot programme in SOAS and the University of Roehampton.
During this pilot we are looking to enrol more universities across the UK in preparation for our launch in February.
We are also exploring the potential to move into the further education market with interest coming from 6th form colleges.
Who is your target audience.
From our work with universities, we understand that students make up the majority of the user base. However staff, especially student unions tell us how this changes the way they communicate with reps and students.
It provides huge value in terms of organisation and efficiency to those delivering and managing education. Which makes us hugely proud as this in turn ensures that staff can focus on what they do best. Teaching, not answering numerous emails.
How do you engage with your target audience. How do you convert them into users of your product.
Unitu is an annually subscribed product. The university pay for the service at a per student rate.
So we ensure that we provide huge value to the decision makers. We specifically target student unions and educational enhancers. We have found that both roles are highly incentivised to internally promote Unitu.
We are utilising our partnership with JISC to access key decision makers. Key partnerships in the future would be with regional purchasing consortiums, NUS and the QAA.
With unions pledging to represent the student voice and educational developers / enhancers looking to keep their university ahead of the curve with technology.
What is your business model. How much does your product / service cost.
We operate as a B2B software as a service business that adopts a super simple pricing : £3 per student per year charged to the university.
If you raised funding, how much did you raise. Who are your investors. If not, are you planning to raise funding.
JISC : £5000
The University of Southampton: £4700
Looking to raise a seed round of £80,000 SEIS investment.
Are there milestones you are especially proud of and would like to share.
At this early stage nearly every development of the business or the apps are huge milestones for us!
The most significant for us has definitely been launching our pilot programme with SOAS and Roehampton. The staff at both universities have been fantastic. Really forward looking and understand the iterative process we want to adopt. We couldn’t have asked for better partners!
We’ve got an exciting strand of higher ed analytics that we are exploring in collaboration with another Jisc summer of student innovation team. I think if successful this could be a huge step for us.
What are the next steps in growing your startup.
- Continuing to test and develop Unitu with the pilot programme
- Building a broadcast feature so departments can easily engage with students
- Seed round – Maintain and grow our team an user base
- Full launch in February
- QAA & NUS endorsement
Anything else you would like to add.
We have a new initiative called unituhack. We wanted to embed the idea of making students and staff as partners into a hackathon setting.
So on November the 8th we will be getting teams of hackers, students and educational staff together at innovation warehouse to hack together the next generation of EdTech tools!
Tickets are available via www.unituhack.com