“We saw a disconnect between what is expected of students entering the professional work environment and what was being taught in traditional higher education business curriculums. The two of us [Real Time Cases’ co-founders] always wanted learning to be more fun, relevant and engaging to us, the students,” explained CEO/co-founder Jacob Schaufeld.
The now Sterling, Va.-based 6-person company, which is currently a part of AOL’s Fishbowl Labs incubator, is led by Schaufeld along with fellow co-founders Jordan Levy and Andrew Pohle. In the Fall, Real Time Cases launched a web-based video content platform aimed at university students taking business courses.
The launch followed a recent $600,000 seed raise led by a local venture capital firm (named shortly) so that Schaufeld and co. could turn their idea into a reality.
“[We] began by collecting videos from executive teams about the current challenges that they were dealing with so that students could put themselves in their shoes,” said Schaufeld.
The Sterling startup’s video database, which holds roughly 150 videos today, presents real cases (challenges) which are currently affecting actual executives from existing tech companies. In other words, these video do not present historical case studies or hypothetical scenarios.
New videos are regularly added to the platform, said Real Time Cases’ co-founder. The goal of the platform is for students to learn more about relevant skills needed to be successful in business beyond the classroom.
Real Time Cases’ first video featured WeddingWire CEO Timothy Chi. Video 01 explained the challenges and obstacles faced by Chi’s company in its quest to expand, internationally, last year.
A class of college students were shown a Real Time Cases video by their professor in which Chi asked them to find the best city/region for WeddingWire’s expansion. The students were tasked with providing a well-researched proposal about why a selected area would be advantageous for WeddingWire’s business; while accounting for hiring, taxation and customer base potential.
The WeddingWire expansion case has since been updated, however, to provide students with the company’s latest operational challenge.
Here’s one example of Real Time Cases’ videos:
At the moment, the company works with more than 200 professors from over 70 universities, including Georgetown and American University, that teach thousands of undergraduate and graduate business students.
Professors that use Real Time Cases’ videos in the classroom are typically in communication with the company regarding active class material and other content recommendations. With that being said, partnering professors are often drawn to the content, said Schaufeld, because they can use it in any number of ways to introduce a theory, subject matter or larger question.
Schaufeld said he anticipates the number of faculty and students on the platform to increase by 8X in the coming year.
The product, rather than being sold directly to the universities, is implemented by professors and purchased on a subscription basis by students much like textbooks. Prices range from $20 to $60 (unlimited) for access to content focused on a specific business course.
And, for reference, if Schaufeld sounds familiar to you by now then you’ve probably heard of SWaN & Legend Venture Partners, one of the D.C. area’s most prominent venture capital firms, for which Jacob’s father Fredrick is a co-founder.
“In the coming year, Real Time Cases plans to expand by working closely with our existing faculty and their institutions on using our up-to-date multimedia content to create a consistent curriculum across business core classes. We plan to continue developing our web platform so that we can improve and better track student learning and teaching outcomes,” explained Jacob.
Schaufeld went on to say that he originally learned about the value of “unstructured, realtime” education while working as an analyst with his father’s firm.
Though he studied environmental science in college, Schaufeld said that he was just as knowledgable when it came to business as his college friend and eventual co-founder Jordan Levy, who majored in accounting and finance.
Notably, Schaufeld learned a lot of what he knows about business from on-the-job training—no one gave him a structured lesson tied to a curriculum that required grading. Instead, Schaufeld’s business education revolved around realtime cases; challenges faced by startups part of SWaN & Legend’s portfolio.
Before the end of 2016, the company’s team will expand from 6 to 12 full-time employee, with hiring particularly focused on marketing and sales divisions to establish more partner distribution channels. Schaufeld declined to disclose revenue figures.
*Image Credit: featured image shows Real Time Cases’ employees, courtesy of co.