There’s a massive skills shortage crisis unfolding around the world, leaving employers and businesses scrambling to retain talent and boost the skills of their employees.
And many businesses continue to be hindered by the slow pace of skills training, which can barely keep up with what tomorrow’s in-demand skills will be.
Lisa Vincent, co-founder of digital training platform HowToo, saw this gap in skills development up close several years ago, and set out to build new software that could make it easier for knowledge to be converted into accessible and useful learning, that was easily shareable.
“The idea really came from the experience of coming up against bottlenecks in the learning creation process,” Vincent told Women’s Agenda recently.
“How could we take what you do in a classroom and then basically allow for a larger audience to access it, without you having to deliver it every time?”
“Our platform is designed to ensure that the content that’s created on it will meet your needs, because our strong belief is that everybody has a right to learning, because learning is so important for success in life.”
This was the key idea that led Vincent from her leading digital learning agency Savv-e, to developing software that would later become the foundation of her new company, HowToo.
Vincent says she knew the idea was a good one when an existing customer at Savv-e asked if they had any software like it.
“We don’t, but we’re planning on it” is what I told that customer,” Vincent explains, sharing that the same customer then went on to make a significant pre-sale of the software, a boost that really helped HowToo come into fruition.
The product was launched into the market in February 2020, with Vincent at the helm as CEO. Under her leadership, HowToo has garnered some significant early traction, signing up more than 10,000 users with hundreds of customers.
HowToo has also received some significant funding, including by securing the federal government’s Accelerating Commercialisation and Boosting Female Founders grants. The grants process has allowed Vincent to develop her acumen as a business leader, learning how to pitch to investors and accelerate new stages of product development and growth.
“How to plan, your pitch deck, your business plan, how to pitch to investors, what are they looking for, how to negotiate, how it all works because it’s a whole science in itself,” Vincent shares. “It’s a whole other world.”
Vincent has managed to bring three key investors on board and says the external accountability of this process has helped her refine her skills as an entrepreneur.
“What I found was, once you bring one investor on, there’s a bit of FOMO, and then others kind of join. MA Financial Group, Jelix Ventures and ALIAVIA Ventures are now our three investors. I learned that they are investing in you personally. So telling your story to convince them that this is your passion and your drive was a really important part of that process.”
As a CEO, Vincent says she prioritises fostering her core team, which she calls her “Growth Cabinet”, and wants them to have ownership over the business and the work they do.
“My Head of Marketing, GM of Sales and Service, Head of Product, Office Manager and my CTO – it’s all of us who work together very collaboratively on our business plan,” Vincent explains.
“We are quite female dominated. It’s just the way it happened. They’re just brilliant, and they’re so passionate about what we’re doing.”
So why does Vincent think she’s been able to bring so many talented women into key roles at HowToo? Perhaps it’s because she’s always seen recruitment as a two-way street.
“This is a female founded tech business that has had success, that’s managed to raise funds, and continues to kick goals,” Vincent said.
“For me, it’s always been about who is the best person for the job, but perhaps more women have been inspired to apply and join us because we are female-founded, and they know there will be no limits to their growth opportunities.”
As for what’s next, Vincent sees massive growth opportunities for HowToo over the next couple of years and has plans to expand into the U.S market.
“Growing substantially into the US market in the next 12 months and setting up our first employees on the ground there is a priority,” Vincent shares.
“We can see there’s a massive opportunity for digital learning globally.”
You can check out more from HowToo here.