Described by its founders as a social Q&A for education, learnpipe is a web-based application that aims to put the fun back into choosing the right course or training option.
Driven by the desire to improve education search online, the basis of start-up learnpipe’s business is to answer one simple question: who offers what course, nearby?
Co-founder John Dineen says he and Shane O’Leary had been working on an early beta version of the site in 2009 and being accepted onto the Endeavour programme in Tralee forced them to build learnpipe into a real business.
“We describe learnpipe as social Q&A for education. Similar to lots of sites, our aim is to help people to find courses. However, we do it in a very different way; learnpipe is really a specialised search engine, a social network and a Q&A site all rolled into one,” Dineen explains.
Dineen and O’Leary have funded the development of learnpipe initially from their own resources and then through revenue. The only external funding has been the Competitive Start Fund (CSF) from Enterprise Ireland.
“The CSF has allowed us to do things that would have stayed in the ‘nice to have’ folder and to try some new things that are really paying off for us. We now have eight people working on learnpipe. it would have taken a lot longer to get to that level without the CSF funding,” says Dineen.
Prior to setting up learnpipe, Dineen and O’Leary co-founded a boutique training company called c2 in 2003, offering IT technical, project management and telecoms training to companies like Motorola, Apple, EMC, VMware and AOL across Europe. O’Leary continues to run c2 and the business is doing well, according to Dineen.