By Asina Pornwasin
The Nation Weekend
Globish aims to triple its revenue this year under a plan to lure more than 10,000 students to its English-learning programmes within three years.
It has been operating an online English learning platform in Thailand for four years. It now boasts 8,000 learners, which 3,000 of them learning every day.
Chuencheewan Wongsaeree, 28, co-founder and operation manager of Globish Academia (Thailand), started Globish when she was just 24, with her co-founder Troy Ananthothai. They met at the Asian Leadership Academy more than four years ago when she took a design-thinking class there.
She said that the concept of Globish is designed to be a platform that enables Thais learners to meet English coaches from Thailand and abroad.
“It is to help working people to learn and improve their English-speaking skills. The target group is manager-level workers who have been working for a while and need improve their English skill to further their career path,” Chuencheewan says.
Currently, it has 80 coaches, from Thailand elsewhere in Asia, including the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and European. Around 25 courses are available on the platform.
“Our online platform is mostly live, not recorded videos, with both one-on-one and discussion classes with a Thai coach, and group conversation with native speaker teachers, both American and British. We also provide e-learning for grammar and vocabulary allowing students to learn by themselves unlimited,” says Chuencheewan.
Apart from the online courses, it also offers offline workshops for students every two weeks at Hanger Co-Working Space by dtac Accelerate.
Globish is designed to facilitate people to design their course schedules flexibly according to their available time-slots and they can choose their own coaches.
“Our coaches have at lease three years of experience in teaching online English speaking course for foreigners and have TEFL certification. We have an education team to source and select coaches to fit to Thais. The peak time of learning is 8 pm to 1 am,” says Chuencheewan.
There are 79 people in the team, aged 30 or below, working as part of a student support team, marketing, engineers, and education. Mostly, they are part of the student support team who provide 24-hour support for learners. Learners first have to have to their English skills tested and they will offered a suitable course.
Additionally, the company aims to expands its online learning platform, booking and live learning system to Hong Kong, by licensing to a local partner to use the platform for teaching financial courses.
"Currently, there are banks and universities that use our online learning platform to get their staff and students to do online learning," says Chuencheewan.
The company plans to expand its English online learning course to abroad as well, aiming to move into Indonesia and Vietnam this year.
Globish’s revenue comes from learning fees. Courses are from four to six months, and will be later be extended to one year.
“We want to see an efficient result. We focus on quality that needs a suitable time range and six month to on year is proper one. One-on-one conversation is 25 minutes each time while the group discussion is 55 minutes," said Chuencheewan.
For example, a business course is for six months. The students will get 46 times of one-on-one conversation and 12 times for group discussion as well as learning with other foreign students and a coach every in 25-minute sessions. All of them can access to practise on their own with e-learning for an unlimited time throughout the course.
“It needs to take thousand hours to complete our total e-learning courses and all students can take e-learning classes as much often as they want," says Chuencheewan.
The company offers business and general courses, with each type divided into six levels. Learners have to be tested for their level to be determined before they take the course. Tests are required to move up to the next level. People who graduate from Globish will get a certificate, which is standard with Kokoa.
The company offers English speaking courses for children ages from 7 to 14. For the student courses, Globish Kids has Thai coaches and a discussion group.
Over the past three years, the company’s business has grown by four times each year.
It has raised a total of Bt10 million. The first round came from the Sue Tid Peak TV show by Tan, Ichitan, and Paiboon, Grammy and angel investors. The second round came from IOIC (Intania Open Innovation Club, Chulalongkorn University), Dtac Accelerate and angel investors. Now it is closing pre-series A round. It has accumulated over 110,000 classes.
“Our business is quite conservative, so we do not need to do the huge fund raising. For the pre-series A fund raising, we would like to expand market for Globish Kids. Most of the investments will be spent in expanding the Thai market. Our strategy for expanding abroad is to use strategic partners as the key is not money," said Chuencheewan.
Education is a slow- growing industry, but online English education is enjoying healthy growth of 30 per cent each year. For Globish, it has grown 400 per cent over the past two years. People are looking for English skills for real use rather than English certification. They also really expect efficient results for their spending.
She said the success of the online English course address learners' pain points, they can speak and practice efficiently without wasting time on travel to classes.
“Everything requires English, no matter whether it is for e-commerce, international trade, travel abroad, growing career paths and so on. People need to improve their English skill in a way that is suitable and addresses their real need. Online English speaking courses are the best answer and that is why we keeping having huge growth every year," said Chuencheewan.
With the power of the platform architect, she said the company wants to utilise this online learning platform for teaching other subjects - especially soft-skills such as leadership and communication as well as other languages such as Chinese.
“Earlier, we set up Globish with the aim to help Thais to speak English well. But only English is not enough for improving people’s working lives. So, in the future, we might work with partners who are specialists in necessary skills and we will expand our service to cover new areas such as coding skills,” said Chuencheewan.
n Founder of the Year, Thailand, Rice Bowl Startup Award 2018
n JUMC STAR 2017 Excellence, Award for Leading Social Impact Entrepreneur in Thailand
n JUMC STAR 2018 Excellence, Award for Leading Business Transformation Entrepreneur in Thailand
n Pitch@Palace, Top3 Startup from South East Asia by Prince Andrew, Duke of York. 2018
n 1st Runner Up, Swiss Innovation Challenge 2016