Conferendum lets anybody teach online and get paid

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conferendum[Germany] How would you like to make money from your expert knowledge? E-Learning is a $53 billion world market that requires lots of technology and therefore is mostly tapped by universities and bigger corporations. But now a small startup from Munich aims to make everyone a distance teacher. Yesterday I ran my first online course using Conferendum, the product of a bootstrapped early-stage company that consists of only a CEO and two freelance programmers. Still they offer a fully blown platform for delivering online training via a web browser and phone.

Anyone can set up a training session in a snap, invite people and start charging. Interaction is done by screen sharing or the presentation of Powerpoint, Excel, PDF and Word documents in the learner’s browser. Participants can talk to their trainer and amongst each other by voice or chat. Conferendum also offers dial in numbers in 30 countries for people who want to attend by phone. Basically it’s a tweaked web conference tool comparable to WebEx, Genesys, GoTo Meeting or Dimdim, but with better monetization options.

A key advantage of Conferendum is the pay-as-you-go model. In contrast to big web conference players, there is no subscription fee for the host but a prepaid solution for charging attendees. Conferendum only makes money if the trainer does by taking a 25 percent service fee. Trainers can charge between €0.01 and €0.50 per minute or €1 to €30 per event for every student.

That’s cheap enough to appeal to freelancers or small businesses, like tutors or accounting experts, looking to make extra money with evening courses over the web. An underpaid teacher from Montevideo could double their income by teaching math to pupils in Madrid. The user interface is already available in 21 languages so there’s quite a bit of potential – parents pay up to €3 billion for private tuition every year in Germany alone.

Conferendum payments are based entirely on Paypal. The participants use it to pre-pay at least €10 that can be spent on the various trainers offering courses via the platform. At the end of every month, trainers get their Conferendum account balance transferred paid through Paypal.

Taking the product for a spin, I was surprised how polished Conferendum looks and how well it works, given that everything is programmed in Java to make it run on virtually every OS. Neither teachers nor pupils have to install any software. Having clicked the invitation link to a training session, the browser opens and a small window pops up to configure sound and microphone. And off we go.

Create new online training event on Conferendum's Java platform.

CEO Wolfgang Berger sees 50 to 70 training sessions every day, held by nutritionists, marketing coaches or financial advisers. That’s still not enough to fly on a VC’s radar, he admits. After meetings with potential investors the feedback was that Conferendum is great, but that he should come back when it makes €1 million in turnover. That’s a feasible objective in a few months, Berger thinks, still an offer from one business angel had to be turned down because he wanted to invest a ridiculously small amount. That’s so typical for Germany.

Having proven the concept and ironed out bugs since March, Conferendum already makes a small profit. But the system can easily support several concurrent e-learning sessions with 1,000 or so participants. That’s why Berger is looking for investor money to spend on marketing. If he was in the US, he would probably just need a small endorsement by a prominent user like Robert Scoble, Guy Kawasaki or Jason Calacanis. They’ve already made other startups fly. Any such figure here in Germany?

  • Jeroen Fransen

    Definitely looks like a powerful tool arriving at the right moment. I miss the video component, though.

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  • Dave

    Looks like a good combination of simplicity and service. Impressed to see they are already turning a profit.

  • Dave Jackson

    Weird there’s no link to Conferendum here.

    • Markus Goebel

      I’ve put the link in the first paragraph when I wrote the article. It’s green and bold.

  • Wolfgang

    Hi Dave,


    @Jeroen – video is defnitely on our roadmap

    CEO Conferendum

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  • Stefan

    Personally I would not like to learn over the web. It is not only about content but also about people. If you attend seminar with more people, you can chat, you can discuss, brainstorm etc. Learning goes much faster in person in my opinion. I think web will have a hard time to replace traditional class-room.

  • dizisalonu

    Conferendum payments are based entirely on Paypal

    only paypal or ..

  • Judith

    They are late. Edufire, Myngle, italki and more recently Sclipo and WizzIQ have already offered this kind of system to teachers, and the first two at least are seeing a lot of activity from teachers.

    • Ryan Haugarth

      This is an amazing product from a small bootstrapped team. The market for online training is huge… & this early on in the game, I think it’s shortsighted to say anyone would be “too late”.

      I think it’s going to be more about staying flexible and adapting to a rapidly changing market. There is certainly room for more than one player and I look forward to watching how this space changes shape in the coming years.

  • deepali gupta

    hiiiiiiiiii i want to know some thing about this oportunity kindly help me for this

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    […] is comparable to WebEx and its many clones or GoToMeeting or Conferendum, a recent German startup we highlighted that operates a similar e-learning […]

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    Its a great thing to teach online.Freelancing jobs are getting more and more popular now a days.Well Thanks for sharing such great article.Keep sharing as always.

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