Marián Hurta and Filip Holec comprise the core of the start-up Engeto, which offers a unique programming school with its own e-learning platform. Engeto offers classroom and online courses intended to not only teach development skills, but also to help beginners assert themselves in the IT world. It also provides advice on how to apply for a job, conducts training interviews and connects students with employers from its partner network.
As Marián and Filip acknowledged, they have been greatly assisted in their three-year journey not only by partnerships with IT firms, but also by two other collaborations. Since the beginning, they have been connected with Impact Hub in Brno, where all of their courses are conducted and their collaboration has persisted since the early days of the start-up. The other collaboration involves CzechInvest’s CzechStarter programme, with which they spent seven months packed with mentoring and consulting, which pushed them forward mainly in the areas of law, business and their prepared foreign expansion.
We asked the guys about their views on all of that and about how are they doing in the Czech Republic. Find out the answers to those questions and more in our interview.
1) Marián, Filip, in what way are you different from other e-learning online platforms in the Czech Republic?
If we compare ourselves with other e-learning projects, the difference lies mainly in two areas. Firstly, we actively work with students and, based on our data, we provide capable students with courses focusing on career advice and connecting them with potential employers. Secondly, we conduct interactive services with them and so-called work environment simulations. We have text and video content, but that’s not enough for preparation of person in IT career.
2) A lot of start-ups don’t survive their first year in business. How were your origins? What is your view on doing business in the Czech Republic?
We made a lot of mistakes, for which we paid a large amount of invested time and money. Fortunately, in the course of the first year, we gained excellent mentors who helped us mainly in the area of strategic planning. In my opinion, the ideas of a lot of the start-up that we have encountered are not based on real market needs, but rather on the needs of the founders themselves. They spend a lot of time developing a product and then run up against an unenthusiastic market. The start-up doesn’t have funding and goes bankrupt.
We had people interested even before we launched the first course, which told us that what we are doing could be successful.
3) In the introduction, we mentioned that two milestones have been important for your start-up – collaboration with Impact Hub Brno and CzechInvest. Can you tell us more about that?
Impact Hub helped us with promotion of our start-up at the very beginning, as well as with selling courses, since their facilities are impressive and geared toward start-ups. As a larger purchaser of e-learning programmes, we have defined, advantageous conditions of cooperation from which both parties can benefit.
CzechInvest provides a broad portfolio of services that can greatly assist start-ups and there is no such institution in Slovakia (ed. note: Marián and Filip are a native Slovaks). We personally participated in the CzechStarter programme, where we used subsidised services of mentors from various fields and legal consulting. From the broad portfolio of renowned mentors, we chose David Kovalský, who helped us with setting up financial processes and strategic planning. The law firm JŠK helped us to a significant extent with the transition to GDPR and with the drafting of various contracts on everything from instruction to corporate partnerships. We advanced substantially during our seven months in the programme. We are very satisfied and therefore we are planning to take part in other programmes, which will help us mainly with expansion abroad, as we will be able to exhibit at global conferences.
4) What is your goal for the coming years? More graduates? Expansion? Acquire an investor?
We currently have nearly 3,000 online and classroom students and graduates. We want to significantly increase that number and penetrate foreign markets with our online platform. Our number-one priority is mainly to keep improving so that an ever greater number of talented people can apply themselves in the IT sector.
We wish you luck!