SkillPop is the best early stage startup in Charlotte and angel investors should be drooling over it

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In March, SkillPop will educate over 600 Charlotteans with 25 classes. And they’ll do it with essentially $0 fixed costs.

When I first learned about SkillPop, I thought it was one of those feel-good, half-baked ideas that pop up and die within a span of 6 months as the they lose momentum.

Then I heard my wife tell me, “I keep trying to take the SkillPop Hand Lettering class, but it sells out too quickly.”

My response: “What?” How did my wife know about SkillPop? And, they’re selling out?

I went to SkillPop.com and that’s when it hit me — nothing about this concept is half-baked.

skillpop-charlotte-startup-classes

Founder is legit

You can’t teach good taste and Haley Bohon has it. She’s an engineer by trade and she’s worked in product development roles at Newell Rubbermaid as well as project management at mobile transit payment company Passport. She’s strong willed, has a vision — all while being super friendly. Haley is exactly the type of startup founder you want to invest in.

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Product is valuable

Students (aka customers) pay $25 to $60 for 2-hour classes ranging from “Introduction to Social Media for Business” to “Watercoloring.” Teachers are local experts and are paid a percentage of revenue that their class generates.

I went to the class “Facebook Marketing for Business” taught by April Smith. It cost $25 and was easily worth it.

Students make connections with others and learn from pros. Teachers make money and strengthen their positions as experts. It’s one of those rare win, win, win scenarios. The demand for local, in-person, expert-taught classes will only continue to grow.

skillpop-class

Money

Haley has no investors. She runs the business and her husband Steve helps with the accounting and administrative items. She currently isn’t looking for investment because she doesn’t need investment.

Just do the back of the napkin math on 25 classes in a month with 25 students in each class at $30 per class – that’s $18,000/mo in top line revenue with $0 fixed costs. Of course you have to pay teachers, process credit cards, etc – but you get it, it’s an exciting business model.

Growth optionality is insane

Haley can grow SkillPop however she wants. Ability to increase prices to meet demand? Very possible. More career-oriented, high priced classes? Very possible. Large TedX style event? Very possible. Go to Raleigh? Very possible. Create a monthly membership program with perks? Very possible. Go to large corporate HR functions and sell bulk memberships? Very possible.

Also, when you have a “student” email list of young(ish) professionals looking for growth and willing to spend money – you have all sorts of orthogonal opportunities.

Dear angel investor, go to a SkillPop class and then meet Haley – if you think I’m wrong, drinks on me.

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Ted Williams
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Publisher, golfer, dad and magician (seriously).