Digital business concepts catching on for startups

As every business owner knows, time is a valuable commodity, and it can be difficult to squeeze in additional activities, like networking or training alongside the day-to-day operations.

Help is at hand with two start-ups providing digital solutions for businesses.

Go DigiCard is an innovative digital alternative to the paper business card, making it easier to make and maintain contacts.

Online training startup Digedu provides a unique platform for anyone from entrepreneurs to corporate staff to brush up on their digital skills.

Wendy Stunt, who has a background in finance and fashion, is the brains behind Go DigiCard. As a businesswoman, she attended a lot of networking events and thought that most of the paper business cards being handed out would end up “in the bottom of a handbag or thrown in a drawer.”

She came up with the idea of a digital card “to bridge the gap between when you hand a business card to somebody and when you end up doing business with them”.

Deciding not to develop an app, because she says they are prone to viruses, she instead opted for a web-based platform.

Each user has their own link, which can be sent by text message to a contact or potential customer.

Describing the DigiCard as “like a microsite”, each user’s profile has a bio, photograph, contact information and hyperlinks to their website and social media.

Apart from the convenience for business owners, the DigiCard is beneficial from an environmental point of view, Ms Stunt says. According to research, 88% of paper business cards are thrown away within a week of receiving them.

The pricing model is an annual subscription of €149 plus Vat, which includes changes, edits and 12 monthly data analytics reports.

With 1,000 cards sold since April 2017, Go DigiCard has a market in Ireland, the UK and Germany, and plans to expand into France, Spain and Italy this year.

Working as a web developer and teaching app development to transition year students, Digedu co-founder Bryan Hurley recognised problems with online education platforms which offered video-based courses.

He says learning doesn’t happen by sitting there and watching videos because enough knowledge is not retained.

He found that when people interact in online groups, they grasp the concepts more quickly.

“They’d ask me a question, and another student would try to answer the question, so they’d start having conversations and going outside the scope of the lessons and so they’d gain more knowledge.

He and co-founder Oliver Smith set up Digedu, “a fully-inclusive education site that had the backbone of the social interaction among the students, being able to chat with each other, being able to chat with the teacher, post their work, share, ask questions, all of that under one roof.”

There are no industry leaders doing what Digedu is doing, Mr Hurley says.

“If you think of Coursera, Udemy, or Shaw Academy, or any other big companies out there, the social interaction really is lacking.”

For entrepreneurs who want to update or learn new skills, the social interaction element of the platform allows them to in effect customise the course to their needs.

With Digedu you watch the video, and you can post the question. Someone can answer that question directly so you can have the course quite tailored to you by the end of it.

Digedu has just under 1,000 students since its launch in early 2016. It has recently moved to a subscription model, at $14.99 per month with a 30-day trial.

The Digedu team competed in the regional finals of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur, having received €7,000 for the first round for Best New Idea.

Previously, the company received €45,000 in seed funding from the Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen in West Cork, and was also awarded €27,000 as a priming grant from the Local Enterprise Office.

Digedu has recently added live courses, with new modules in subjects such as cryptocurrencies, social media marketing and mathematics in the works.

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