BodeTree launched early last year to help small business owners better understand and make sense of their financial data. The startup has been attempting to make the absurdly tedious world of financial software fun, or at least less crappy, pitching itself as a “financial tool for people who hate finance.” As Sarah wrote at the time, BodeTree syncs with QuickBooks for data importing, but differentiates itself from similar tools by providing SMB owners with a realtime dashboard-style view of their financials (plus reporting and analysis), rather than being just another payments and invoicing app.
By providing the mainstream with a simple way to convert raw financial data into actionable insight, Co-founder and CEO Chris Myers believes that BodeTree has the potential to add value by acting as an educational resource for small business. Across the board, small business owners are eager to better understand their company’s strengths and weaknesses and learn how to better identify and utilize their levers of growth, but the options remain limited. So today, the startup is going beyond the metrics and analytics with the launch of BodeTree University — an education platform dedicated to small business owners and entrepreneurs.
The new platform aims to bring an extended classroom experience to BodeTree through open education, allowing small business owners to access educational videos on topics that range from accounting and finance to strategy and technology. The platform offers both introductory and master-level content, so users can brush up on 101-level skills or dig into more advanced content in a collaborative online class environment where they can learn directly from experts and engage in discussions.
“There are so few quality resources for small business owners looking to learn and connect with others,” Myers tells us. “They’re either thinly-veiled advertisements or of dubious quality.” Over the long term, the co-founders want BodeTree University to become the Harvard Business Review for mom-and-pop small business owners.
The biggest differentiator between the new platform and other educational sites, Myers says, is that it focuses on providing direct, personal access to thought leaders and experts from the Fortune 500 world and “will always be free.” Users can attend a live class taught by a respected marketing executive and connect with them immediately afterward, or peruse through the platform’s curated list of biz resources and book reviews, videos and blogs.
At launch, the platform has over 100 pieces of unique content and includes classes taught by 10 different teachers, including Falon Fatemi of Funders Club — the founder of Infusionsoft and a former Googler. BodeTree produces most of its videos with its partner studio in San Francisco, but will also offer alternatives for those who can’t make it out to the Bay Area, either by doing the broadcast directly from their office or helping them find a local studio.
At this point, all of its experts are volunteers, capitalizing on the good will of those looking to share their expertise with small business owners, although the founders said they’ll continue to evaluate as they get a better sense of demand. While the platform is open to all, Myers says that it was designed to provide a complement to BodeTree’s existing functionality.
The platform essentially adds a social layer to the user experience, allowing users to connect with each other in community forums, compare notes and dig deeper into the issues they struggle with every day and get access to exclusive events and contests.
“We want BodeTree University to play a part in bringing the Fortune 500 to the Fortune 5 Million,” Myers says, “and give small business owners the skills they need to stay ahead of the competition and scale their businesses sustainably.”
Find BodeTree University at home here, and let us know what you think.