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Q&A with Lessonspace: Making Teaching Easier

By Solomon Elekwa

Matthew Henshall is the visionary Co-founder and CEO of Lessonspace and Code4Kids. While he is an Electro-Mechanical Engineer by training, he has flourished as a serial entrepreneur, having launched a series of education-focused tech startups. His first major startup success was founding SkillUp Tutors in 2016, which was then acquired in 2021.

Building on the success of SkillUp Tutors, Matthew ventured into founding two groundbreaking EdTech companies: Lessonspace and Code4Kids. Lessonspace, often dubbed as the “Zoom for Education,” offers an interactive and collaborative online learning platform tailored specifically for educational settings. Through Lessonspace, Matthew aims to address the evolving needs of educators and learners, providing them with a seamless and effective virtual learning experience.

Code4Kids, on the other hand, represents Matthew’s dedication to equipping the next generation with essential digital skills from an early age. By offering a comprehensive curriculum focused on coding, robotics, and IT for students aged 8 to 15, Code4Kids empowers educators to integrate technology education into their classrooms effectively.

In this Q&A session, we dive into his startup Lessonspace, and the innovative approaches it is using to disrupt online learning across the globe.

Can you provide a concise overview of your company’s primary innovation or product offering?

Lessonspace is “Zoom for Education”, but with education-specific features like a whiteboard, resources, and equation tools for 1-on-1 and small group tutoring.

What inspired the development of this particular innovation?

In 2016, we originally had our own tutoring company where we tried to offer online lessons for our students. After much frustration with off-the-shelf tools or alternatives like Zoom or Skype, we decided to develop our own tool for our clients.

It was only sometime after that we sold our tutoring business and pivoted into Lessonspace SaaS.

How do your company values align with the goals and impact of your innovation?

Our purpose is to “Make Teaching Easier”, first and foremost we aim to support teachers, we believe the better a teacher is supported, the better a student will do.

What are the key features that set your innovation apart from others in the market?

Some of the key features that set us apart in the market include:

– Single click access for students: We aim to remove as many barriers between the student and learning, so all a student needs to do to join a lesson is click a link.

– Browser-based platform: There is no need for the hassle of installing applications, downloading software, or gaining admin rights. Just click and learn.

– Collaborative, infinite learning spaces: Lessonspace is known for its emphasis on real-time collaboration, providing tools like interactive infinite whiteboards, shared documents, and seamless communication.

– Interactive recordings: Beyond pause, play, and rewind, viewers can change the view mode, move to different documents in the space, copy text, add notes, and more.

– Collaborative coding IDE: Students and teachers can write code together in one of 20 coding languages.

– Global accessibility: Servers around the world provide global reach to any market.

– Special Education Needs (SEN) Tools: Additional tools are available for students or tutors with autism and other educational needs.

How does your innovation address a unique need or challenge in your industry?

Lessonspace aims to address the following challenges in the industry:

Global accessibility: Lessonspace breaks down geographical barriers, enabling students and teachers from around the world to connect seamlessly. This addresses the challenge of limited access to quality education by providing a platform where anyone can access lessons regardless of their location.

Adaptability to Diverse Subjects: Lessonspace is designed to cater to a wide range of subjects and teaching styles. Whether it’s mathematics, language learning, or creative arts, the platform provides tools that can be adapted to different teaching needs, making it versatile for educators across various disciplines.

Real-Time Collaboration: In traditional online learning settings, collaboration can be a challenge. Lessonspace overcomes this by offering real-time collaboration features, fostering a sense of immediacy and interaction similar to in-person classrooms. This is especially important for subjects that require active participation and discussion.

How would you describe your current business model and what is unique about your pricing?

Lessonspace charges customers if and only if they are conducting a lesson, there are little to no overhead costs if the customer is not having lessons. Therefore when our clients are having lessons, and earning revenue, only then do we charge them. The alternative is a tool like Zoom, that have fixed overheads, despite the volume of customers.

How has technology played a role in shaping your business model?

We have been able to build our platform off powerful and well-supported open-source technologies that have shaped the online video industry.

How do you stay ahead of industry trends and emerging technologies to remain innovative in your offerings?

Beginning with the end in mind allows us to focus on building for the end goal of making online teaching easier. This enables us to be industry leaders.

What do you believe are the key ingredients that make your innovation and company truly unique?

Lessonspace is an online learning platform that is dedicated to providing the best virtual classroom experience for tutors and their students.

We do not compromise on quality by offering additional features such as scheduling, payroll, or invoicing. Instead, we partner with specialized platforms that offer these services to ensure that our focus remains solely on providing the best online learning experience.

While there are many great platforms available, some of the ones that gained popularity in 2020 are not education-specific, while others don’t go as deep as their focus is spread across a wider range of services.

Where do you envision taking your innovation in the next 5 – 10 years?

We aim to get more than 200 million hours of tutoring each year! Hopefully sooner than 5 years!

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