Founded by Christian Sassin and Leon Schneider it is a one-stop-shop for students and young professionals aiming for careers in Germany.
Planning your studies and a career abroad is a time-consuming and often stressful affair. Especially for countries like Germany, with strong language barriers and most of the universities still only offering German-speaking courses, a well-planned outline is a prerequisite. From registering for a language course, writing your application to going to the embassy to attend your mandatory interviews and finally booking your tickets, it can be a lot of trouble and work.
Founded by Christian Sassin and Leon Schneider, German startup Educaro is a one-stop-shop for students and young professionals aiming for careers in Germany.
“Students request aid with a visa dossier. We proof-read it and suggest changes. People not conversant with German as a language ask for advice on their CV or Letter of Motivation for the embassy. Our writers collect data from the students and together they craft the applications.
Opening a bank account in Germany, insurance contracts – the service portfolio kept growing organically,” says Christian, Co-Founder of Educaro. In 2015 the first Educaro language school was opened in Tunisia after the German embassy in Tunis as well as other German partners raised complaints about the language qualification of the applicants.
Today Educaro is offering services along the entire value chain.
The unique feature: As the client progresses along the value chain, Educaro’s services change accordingly. From language classes and visa/university application support over inscription in German schools and the facilitation of housing and insurance contracts to a full-fledged immigration service to actually become a member of German society, Educaro has professors and consultants in place to guide the client. The USP, therefore, is the seamless integration of all steps into one service that greatly reduces friction cost and time lags that clients suffer if they would go for individual service providers for every single step.
Education has always been important in Christian’s life. “My family taught me that, while lavish spending and consumerism are to be avoided, expenditure for education will always be welcomed. This conditioned me early on to see education as a useful investment”, he says.
After completing his bachelor’s degree, Christian signed a contract with an investment boutique in France, potentially working on mergers of German and French companies and aiming for new trade solutions between the two countries.
With the contract in hand, he decided to blow it off and instead engage in an adventure in Tunisia. Asked about his motivation to leave a successful career in an investment company, he answers “I don’t know why I was so spontaneous for once but imagining a 70-hour life in a neon-light office just didn’t seem right.”
The idea of Educaro had already begun to take shape in 2013 during one of the Christian’s trips to Tunisia. While working as an intern at a local language school, he realised the injustice and exploitation of students by local transfer agencies.
“Parents and students were deceived into paying huge fees upfront without any service guarantee, coming from hopeless positions in the first place more often than not. This system worked only because of asymmetric information and the cultural acceptance of advisors as trustworthy sources. Many students started to approach me even after I had left for Germany, to get advice on visa procedures and university applications”, describes Christian on his motivation to start Educaro.
Realising the need for the service and after providing online consultation for six months, Christian decided to register the company in Germany. But knowing the value of an education, he was keen on finishing his Master’s degree while running Educaro on the side. Over a beer and bratwurst, he met Leon Schneider during the introductory week at the university. “I realised that Leon carried the perfect complimentary profile to carry out the business development and human resources related subjects at Educaro. Through his studies in South Africa and experience in consulting in Germany, Leon was equipped to compliment my strategic and logical thinking with a pro-active, return-driven and internal culture-focused attitude”, Christian says.
Being asked what drives their partnership, Christian outlines, “As in all partnerships, sometimes the gears grind mostly about communication or timing issues, but nothing that cannot be resolved by talking to each other. Yes, the discussions get heated sometimes but as the only people that really challenge each other day in and day out, it is necessary to be reflective and appreciate continuous self-improvement.”
Currently, Educaro is offering its services in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia and recently started off in India. Having made their first experiences in India, Educaro is positively surprised about their Indian customers. “Indian students seem to be by far more invested and prepared than their international counterparts. They have a clear vision of what they want to achieve, know their current status and what they can bring to the table,” Christian says.
Educaro is now also geared to open its first language school in Bengaluru in October 2017. With an expectation of 30-40 students joining the school upon its opening, Eudcaro expects to run-deficit-free by January and recover all investments by the end of 2018.
“After having reached the profitability zone in Tunisia after three months, we decided to sacrifice the profits for further growth, enabling us to double the school locations as well as the staff. However, providing this enlarged infrastructure implies that real profits will not be accounted for before the closing of this season by March 2018,” Christian says.
Funded by their families earlier, Educaro has recently taken on new shareholders in the parent company in Germany from varying backgrounds to finance their international expansion.
However, a conscious decision has been taken to not go for VC funding. “We contemplated taking in a VC funding early this year but decided against it as the VCs were looking to invest an amount too large for our current needs and although they guaranteed us a minimum run-time of 10 years before they would consider an exit, we felt that we would be rushed into unstable growth as the VCs want to see their money work,” says Christian.
Asked what they would advise other entrepreneurs, Christian further elaborates “We can only advise that entrepreneurs should not overshoot in the initial funding rounds as every investment comes with an additional responsibility and more expectations to fulfil that may restrict your own vision and long-term dreams. In my opinion it is not worth selling out your company’s values and vision for quick and large funding rounds, ultimately sacrificing your identity. Remain true to your vision, define very clearly what you want to achieve and do not fall for seemingly attractive offers from people who want to piggyback on your achievements.”