Miami — Some of the top companies in the world are offering to pay for their workers to attend college or earn a higher degree, including companies like McDonalds or Nestlé. Education as a benefit is becoming a trend the world over, and this Mexico-based startup is ahead of the curve. Today, Vinco, which connects employees to online education opportunities, announced the close of a $2.4 million Seed round. Investors include Y Combinator, Alter Global, Angel Ventures, Learn Capital and Reach Capital, a prestigious California-based EdTech investor.
The three co-founders - all women - are childhood friends. “I always wanted to take the leap, it was just a matter of finding the right opportunity,” said Lissy Giacoman Colyer, co-founder and CEO of Vinco. When she settled on an idea, she was able to get Miriam Fernandez Guerra and Sofia Sada Segovia on board, too.
Vinco works as a marketplace where it gets the educational institutions on board, and then gets the corporations on board. “We realized it was easier to get the companies once we already had the classes,” said Colyer.
Most of the classes are a degree or certificate program, and traditionally, online education has a high drop-off rate. In fact, according to the company, 30-50% of online learners drop out within the first year. To mitigate this, Vinco offers “coaches” to each student. Coaches help the students register for the classes -- which can be a clunky process -- and then make sure the students stay on track and finish the courses.
As a result, a lot of the money raised is going to be used to hire more coaches, Colyer said.
The company says they largely model themselves after the American company, Guild.
“What we like about Guild’s model is that it solves a lot of problems simultaneously, but by helping companies offer education as a benefit, it helps the employee and the company,” Guerra said.
Vinco launched in April 2021 in Monterrey, Mexico and currently has clients in Mexico, Colombia and Spain. Part of the money will also be used to grow across LatAm. The 11- person team has been able to get some big names on board such as McDonalds, Didi, Nestle and Banca Afirme.
“Two thirds of the labor force [in Mexico] doesn’t have a high school education,” Colyer said.
Vinco charges a “support fee” to the companies, and that’s how they make money. But they also provide transparency. Through the help of coaches and Vinco’s ability to monitor online progress, companies can know who completed what course, and therefore have data to work with next time they want to buy classes through Vinco.
“A cashier, on average, stays at a Mexican company for 3 months, but if you offer them education, they could stay on for 2-3 years,” said Guerra.