DigiTech Leaders Series

How an EdTech platform designed for Enterprise customers is shining the light on Liverpool’s DigiTech scene.

Paul Foster who heads up Skylan Recruitment Ltd speaks to Mark Williams, the CEO of Wranx.com the EdTech SaaS platform. The former retailer talks openly about running a red hot SaaS company, the challenges they face as they take the company global. They have the investment, they have the proof of concept and scalability, now its all about the journey to success!!

0:52 We find out more about the EdTech B2B SaaS platform Wranx.com

Wranx is an online training, learning and development platform that uses proven scientific method of space repetition to aid learning and a knowledge retention. It's micro learning, we take existing training materials or “wranxify those training materials” in other words cut them down into bite-sized learning.

5:19 Mark Williams' background before joining the B2B SaaS industry and what attracted him to Wranx. 

He is a retailer, worked with various retailers in the U.K. (Magnets, Wicks, RAC). In particular worked with the William Currie Group in the early stages of developing The Fragrance Shop as a retailer. It was easy for him to reunite with the William Currie Group which happens to be the initial purchaser of Wranx, that attracted him to join the company. Also, as a start up goes, he felt that this was very much the horse to back.

8:11 What are the differences from a retail to SaaS?

The market is quite different. Retail is set in terms of formulas, like need to find the right places, need to have the right product, the right people.The difference being in the L&D space, there's more challenge in terms of understanding cultures,  how businesses want to develop and there's a much wide breadth required in L&D. 

10:07 What are the challenges from DevOps, Sales and Marketing, Customer Success and Recruitment getting it scalable and deliverable? 

The platform was originally written in a language (Ruby on Rails) while suitable for early stage growth was never gonna be sustainable particularly in Recruitment point of view. There's few developers who use that now. So, the platform had to be rewritten in its entirety, there was a lot of add-ons, improvements on the UI etc.

12:15 What are your challenges in Sales and Marketing?

First and foremost, we're a disruptive technology, which means when we go out the market people haven't necessarily got the budget set aside for something new. It's actually persuading people that we have a product that's worth finding additional budget for. In terms of sales, understanding the market is key. In particular, re-educating people as to this being the way forward for them. Time is also a key consideration.

14:17 As a start-up, when do you start looking at Customer Success? What are the challenges and opportunities in retaining the big clients?

Customer success is key. It starts in the very beginning, before committing a large proportion of finance or budget. If we get the pilot right, we get the business. Keeping the content fresh, exciting and we need to listen to the customer. Good communication is key. In terms of challenges, you have to have the buy-in of the company. If they're not brought into it, it will not work.

16:31 What are the challenges and opportunities in getting the right talent in all areas of your business?

It's very difficult to recruit people and to get the right person in. It's understanding what we are looking for, it may be simple, but it's absolutely key. We need to get the right recruitment business onboard with us since it is a time consuming job.

19:36 How do you align the different cultures from different department (like tech, sales, content, marketing etc.)? 

It's a tough one. We have a good social program within the business and we keep things light. Good communication is absolutely key. Keeping people involved, making sure everybody knows what's going on in the business even if it's not within their field and pointing everybody in the same direction.  

21:37 How do you develop a particular individual or a team to the next level? 

Having a good management team within the departments. It's important to have a good manager to develop their people. Strong process in review culture, open conversations for building up their own confidence, clear and defined strategy of where we are going and where they're going in particular.

23:25 Where do you see Wranx in the next two to three years? 

We are ambitious. We'd like to be the leading learning and development online provider on a global basis. We're in 2,100 cities, at the moment, scaled to grow from there. It's important to get the product enterprise ready, we have a lot of small, medium-sized businesses but we've just taken on a large global client, the North Face, HomeAway, call centers. From a product point of view, replace the LMS. 

Check out other interesting blogs: https://skylanrecruitment.co.uk/blog/

Follow our LinkedIn page for updates: https://www.linkedin.com/company/skylan-recruitment-limited/