The Startupeable Show
The Startupeable Show
🎧 Why This Big Brazilian Edtech Acquired a University

🎧 Why This Big Brazilian Edtech Acquired a University

With Paulo Silveira, cofounder and CEO of Alura

In the past decade, numerous startups like online bootcamps and MOOCs have tried to disrupt and reimagine the higher education system. 

However, the idea of merging these modern educational models with traditional universities seemed far-fetched until recently.

With over 120k paid subscribers and 1M users, Alura made headlines by acquiring FIAP, a well-known private technology university in Brazil. 

This move was a strategic step towards offering comprehensive courses and in-person classes complementing their online programs.

Today I sat with Paulo Silveira, Alura’s founder, to understand the reasoning behind acquiring a traditional university, why online education can’t grow as fast as SaaS, how to balance rapid growth with the quality of learning, and whether startups will actually be able to disrupt traditional universities.

Spotify | YouTube | Apple Podcasts

🗒 Show notes:

[12:11] - You Can’t Blitzscale Education

[23:31] - How to Merge Cultures

[30:28] - The Importance of Reputation

[38:49] - Don’t Get Addicted to Ads

[47:14] - Communities are NOT Leads

[55:51] - Why AI Doesn’t Threat Universities

🧠 Key Takeaways

#1 The B2C>B2B Flywheel: It is possible to service both consumers and businesses and create a situation where one feeds the other constantly, especially in education. In the example of Alura, they teach individuals and when they see that several people work in the same company, they reach out to the company for a deal. Since the employees advocate for it, the sale is much easier. But if they had only focused on B2B, they would have to directly sell to the C-levels and prove their value. 

#2 Create something bigger than your startup: Content marketing is a cheaper alternative to paid ads, that also keeps delivering results even years later. However, the content has to go beyond your brand. Don’t create to let others know how great your brand is. Create to help others, regardless of whether they’re clients or not. This is why Paulo’s podcast is called instead of Aluracast, as many people around him suggested. His podcast is not only for clients, it’s for anyone who wants to learn about tech.

#3 Blitzscaling can hurt you: In Venture Capital, growth at all costs tends to be common, so startups get used to high CAC and higher ad spend. But the speed of growth can get addicting, and when you want to slow down and start looking for profitability instead, it can feel like a mistake. Ads are still a good tool, but they shouldn’t be a primary acquisition channel. Make sure you can still grow, even if you cut down on ad spend as a way to help achieve profitability.

😲You won’t hear this anywhere else

“I don’t think AI generating content automatically is a game-changer. With the human in the loop, it does give you leverage, but not if it’s by itself. And I don’t think it’s true that everyone will learn through conversational AI either. When students are enrolling, it’s not exactly because there is not enough content, especially written ones, or because they want to learn from a bot. They want a person teaching them because they know the course. They need clear direction. AI can be an assistance to universities, but shouldn’t be overused.”

Other mentions:

The Startupeable Show
The Startupeable Show
The Startupeable Show is an open exploration of the markets, technologies, and trends that are reshaping business in the U.S. and around the world, and the people behind them.
During each interview, host Enzo Cavalie delves deep into our guest's 'earned secrets': their unique points of view on their industries, the key insights behind their success, and their practical strategies for company building.