In the world of technology, there are many dedicated to niche audiences and solutions, while other start-ups and future tech groups are aiming to solve worldwide problems.
One of those companies, Knowledgehook, has its sights set on the universe of education. Specifically mathematics. To train teachers for a modern world, and give students the opportunity to learn the same way they play.
Recently, Daily Hive sat down with Knowledgehook’s Chief Financial Officer and Head of Partnerships, Qamar Qureshi, to talk about his approach to growth, why education matters, and how learning and adaptability are the keys to any form of success.
As one of the youngest CFO’s I’ve ever met, and current student of Harvard, Qureshi has continually laid all of his cards on the education and experience table throughout his career.
“My parents taught me the importance of being educated to broaden my options in life at a young age, both from their experiences and my experience growing up as the eldest being a role model for my younger brothers.”
Qureshi says that throughout his childhood economic shifts did a bit of a number on his family’s financial well-being saying, “this for me highlighted the importance of ensuring I had a strong education, with flexible and sector agnostic business credentials.”
“My parents were constantly grinding and sacrificed a lot to put me and my brothers in the best standing they could,” says Qureshi on what inspires him to strive for the betterment of his particular mindset. It inspired “a level of resolve to act until I achieve as I learned, and to this day believe; that life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those with the highest level of commitment and dedication.”
It is this priority on learning and education through trials and hands-on composition that continue to drive Qureshi to, in his words, “leverage learnings into bigger moves.” Hence, Harvard.
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Knowledgehook, one of the biggest leaders in the education of tomorrow, mirrors this sentiment. Through teaching kids differently with adaptive and modern tools, gamification, and fun, Knowledgehook is dreaming of a world in which kids in early-education today, learn to expand their tools for tomorrow through schooling.
The software and set-up goes beyond students, as it gives teachers the most prolific set of tools and oversight to assist the way they adapt their lessons on an individual basis.
Adaptability is at the forefront of Knowledgehook’s … hook. It is also what their CFO says is keeping companies of yesteryear from having as much success today as younger businesses. Knowledgehook recently secured $20 million in Series A funds, led by a London based EdTech fund, and works with more than 100,000 schools worldwide.
“Bureaucracy at the expense of agility. Comfort at the expense of progress. Old guards need to be flexible in strategy and place bigger bets based on new information not historical,” says Qureshi. “On the flip side, I’ve seen several younger members of the business world jump from shiny object to shiny object to pursue shortcuts and careers that their peers find “sexy.” Careers and businesses that stand the test of time take time. Even disruptors are not safe from disruption. I only know of overnight successes that took years to build, our company Knowledgehook included. ”
It is a vibrant experience and education that Qureshi attributes to the most promising future members of the tech space. Within that subset of up-and-coming headliners, the Knowledgehook CFO says those who prioritize experience first can take on the world.
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“Experience, and getting it young and from as many diverse sources as possible,” says Qureshi when asked whether youth or experience is most important. “Find the right mentors, think big, use and study data, have a builder mindset, and put yourself in the right situations.”
As the landscape of technology and business changes, so should a company’s roadmap and focus. It’s about putting together the most intricate toolkit you can in order to achieve success no matter where the markets may take you. It’s fundamental agility, like this very concept, is baked into the future of Knowledgehook, and why Qureshi says he’s been able to push the envelope at every turn.
Strategies that put weight on hierarchy, relying on a few experts over cross-collaborative perspectives usually miss the mark. Being agile and bringing in voices with diverse experience allows for new solutions — like changing the future of education — and for better equipped businesses to stay ahead of the curve.
“In the start-up world, you must build the engine as you fly the plane. This is invaluable in disrupting and solving the bigger problems; having an early-stage business forces you to think outside the box before process sets in,” says Qureshi.
The growth that Qureshi is focused on through Knowledgehook follows this exact mantra. The “builder’s mentality” he calls it. “You can’t start off being everything to everyone. To solve big problems, you need to start at the foundation to scale and build sustainable momentum.”
Focusing on product-market fit and the right key product indicators (KPIs) is what makes a start-up achieve high-growth while solidifying a better future. Those heavily reliant on channels like Facebook or Google Ads for growth play with fire, as those avenues are finite, expensive, and not under your control.
“To create really cool, mega-compounding, world-altering impact you need an impenetrable foundation built in the trenches. Resiliency instilled with battle wounds to show for it,” says Qureshi. “The ceilings can be limitless; however, your approach needs to be grounded and consistent.”