We’ve often talked about the need for Pakistanis to understand personal finance and the realities of the complex financial dynamics in today’s world. Thus far, there hasn’t really been an effective way to impart this education to willing learners without having them enroll in a university. To make things simpler, Jawwad Farid, founder of Alchemy, has launched an online e-learning portal called LCF. Jawwad’s audience, however, is not just limited to those interested in Personal Finance, nor is it limited to Pakistan. His courses have been incredibly well received by a global audience. In Jawwad’s own words:
“We recently crossed the 100,000 visitors benchmark after crossing the 200,000 pageviews benchmark in August. Traffic is up at about 8,000 monthly visitors and over 17,500 pageviews. An average visitor spends upwards of 2 minutes with some users spending all of 40 minutes at the site validating its stickiness. All content is locally generated and our online video course library has doubled this quarter and we hope will double again before the end of the year.
The site is a great reference for business school students, consultants, bankers and technologists who need a crash course in higher finance topics. And the fact that we get traffic from over 5000 cities in the world and 186 countries somewhat validates that. More that 50% of the traffic originates from North America and Western Europe. “
What’s particularly interesting to us is that entrepreneurs from Pakistan are no longer just focused on IT services and products, but are expanding export opportunities to knowledge products as well. E-learning represents a massive global opportunity that, given first rate content and material, should be an area of focus for local entrepreneurs. It has all the attributes of a viable export-oriented offering for Pakistani startups:
- Being a virtual good, it can be delivered effectively through digital, online means.
- It leverages domain specific knowledge that is available across a broad set of areas in Pakistan (e.g. medicine, finance, law, economics, math etc.)
- It scales tremendously! Perhaps even more so than other digital goods such as software. While the support burden will increase with the number of customers an application acquires, it is usually not the case with educational content delivered online.
- It is a great arbitrage opportunity. Education in developed countries is becoming increasingly expensive. Inexpensive, high quality learning alternatives are bound to find a foothold due to the value they deliver.