Intersective uses 'lighthouse' client model to power ASEAN success
Australian experiential edtech company Intersective has big plans for transforming education and training globally, starting with the ASEAN market.
Intersective's co-Chief Executive Officer, Beau Leese, believes experiential learning can help unlock the potential of up to 1 billion people globally, many of whom are based in ASEAN.
'Experiential education covers everything from internship schemes to mentoring, to business projects to accelerators, to workplace leadership schemes to credentialing,' Leese explains. 'All of these initiatives help us develop the skills in the workplace to transition careers.'
Intersective's Practera software platform and products enable employers, students and educators to work together on experiential programs and capture data to achieve better education outcomes. 'Our platform and web-based and mobile apps help people build effective collaborative ecosystems and networks,' says Leese.
Founded in 2012, Intersective has grown to 25 employees and is in the early stages of expanding into ASEAN markets. 'In particular, we're working with a "lighthouse" client in Vietnam – RMIT University Vietnam – to roll out a product for badging and credentialing their employee skills offering to its entire student base in Vietnam,' says Leese.
'This model represents our philosophy for entering offshore markets – we really want to build sustainable, valuable solutions for and with our customers, and work from there,' he adds.
Intersective met representatives from RMIT University Vietnam – the Vietnamese branch of RMIT University in Melbourne – at a conference in 2016. Shortly after, the two companies formed a joint development and commercialisation relationship. RMIT University Vietnam operates campuses in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi and has more than 7,000 students enrolled in its courses. Under the agreement, Intersective will market the product - due for completion in October 2017 after about two years of development - to potential clients in ASEAN and other markets.
'We have preliminary discussions going in most ASEAN countries, particularly Indonesia and Myanmar,' says Leese. 'There's a social project focused on building employability that we're looking at in Myanmar and we're talking to groups about on-the-ground representation and customers.'
Intersective's relationship with ASEAN markets also includes working with developers in Singapore and Malaysia. 'There is a global development community that works with the software our platform is built on,' explains Leese. 'We found these developers had very good skills, so we were able to bring them into our global virtual development environment.'
Leese cites contractual relationships and travel as moderate challenges in operating in ASEAN and other international markets. 'The tyranny of distance and the time zone differences have not been too bad,' he says. 'We've had to work with contracts in Vietnamese and English, look at the nuances of trade agreements between Australia and Vietnam, and consider the slightly higher risks of operating in an offshore legal market.
'These meant it took more time than establishing a similar contractual relationship in Australia, but we didn't find the exercise presented a major barrier.'
The Australian Government has played a role in enabling Intersective to establish itself in ASEAN. The company has received assistance from Austrade and its networks have helped prompt inbound queries from prospective clients in Indonesia.
Intersective has also benefited from financing provided by the Australian Government's export credit agency, Efic, which assisted the company during its negotiations in Vietnam. 'We're now in an excellent position to seize new opportunities in ASEAN and realise our global vision,' says Leese.