Launched publicly last month, Mindsy is a new UK startup that’s building a Netflix-style service for consuming e-learning content, specifically online video courses. Instead of selling individual courses as per sites like Udemy and Skillshare, the company is repackaging some of the same premium video content in a subscription ‘all you can eat’ model, costing $29 per month.
Mindsy also recently raised a small amount of funding: An £80,000 seed round from Mark Pearson of Markco Media and MyVoucherCodes fame.
“We’re trying to build a platform for e-learning/video learning across all topics,” explains co-founder and CEO Christian Owens. “Instead of focusing on creating our own original content we partner with existing instructors and experts who have already put together high quality, engaging e-learning content.”
To that end, Mindsy already boasts over 5,000 video lessons (although discrete instructors/courses number in the hundreds), ranging from computer programming to learning the piano — all for a single monthly subscription with no limits on the number of videos that can be consumed. How much e-learning a user could properly work through in a month will vary, of course, but certainly a subscription model seems attractive when you consider that some of the same content costs more than $29 on its own.
“A unique trait of Mindsy is we see ourselves as a “Netflix-style” service for this e-learning content,” says Owens. “The content available through a Mindsy monthly subscription can be bought elsewhere at individual per-course pricing. [The] average price of each course we offer on these external sites is around $49. Our users get everything in their subscription.”
It’s also early days, says Owens. The longer-term plan is to add additional e-learning content and materials and further device support. “We’re working on enhancing the learning experience with streaming video across all devices, supplementary course materials (like presentations, documents, samples etc.) and one-on-one messaging with course instructors when you get stuck,” he says.
It’s worth noting, however, that Mindsy isn’t the first e-learning site to adopt a subscription model. Competitors include Lynda.com for design and technical courses, or Treehouse for coding and website building. The difference, says Owens, is that these tend to cater for niche subjects, whereas Mindsy is attempting to cover a much wider spectrum of courses.
“We feel that this limits a person’s ability to learn, by restricting them to a certain breadth of content, usually limited by what they can afford,” he says.