Innovating, creating and simplifying online learning
Benjamin Wols and Kerim Haccou started their entrepreneurial quest a few years back when they both worked as teaching assistants for programming courses at the TU Delft.
With almost 800 students who had to submit an assignment every week, reviewing all of them was virtually impossible for the one teacher and four teaching assistants involved. Because of that, all submitted assignments received a ‘pass’ by default, with only the final one being reviewed and graded. As a result, the students got no feedback along the way, yet they thought “they were on the right track, because they got a pass every week”, Benjamin explains.
FROM ONE SIMPLE IDEA
Benjamin and Kerim had an idea of how to do this differently: “We have developed a program that automatically takes a look at your codes and gives you some feedback.” The two founders knew they had a good case as more and more teachers started requesting it for their own classes. “That’s when we thought,” Benjamin recalls, “why not start a company and license [our platform] to the university.”
In August 2014, the duo founded Ans Delft, and focused on broadening the functionalities of their platform to become attractive to a wider range of universities and high schools. They came up with the idea to automate the administrative tasks that come with grading exams, because after all, “every school has exams.”
THROUGH YES! DELFT
Since their first pilot project in May 2015, their platform has been used by around 30 teachers from a number of different faculties at the TU Delft, resulting in the digitizing of more than 7,000 exams and the automatic grading of 25,000 coding assignments.
They are now part of YES!Delft’s Incubation Program, working hard to further improve their product, expanding their market and finding new clients. “At YES!Delft, they try to push you” Benjamin says “and that is very good.” In addition, the incubator’s events have led them to meet a number of prominent experts, as well as get free working hours with (legal) advisors, and in general “people that you don’t get in touch with very easily.”
Today, Ans Delft is a team of seven: the two co-founders working full time, and five part-time students.
TO A GROWING COMPANY
While there are currently about 30 teachers using their platform, the team makes sure that they increase that number every semester. Perhaps what is even more important is that “we haven’t had any teacher leaving the system, so we have a retention rate of 100%.”
While they started at their very own TU Delft, the team is now talking with multiple universities and high schools in the Netherlands to launch a pilot project. And that is precisely what is ahead of them in the months to come – more negotiations, more interest in their product and more sales. And more satisfied students and teachers.
August 2014 – Founded Ans Delft
May 2016 – Joined YES!Delft’s Incubation Program
October 2016 – Processed 7,000 exams and automatically graded 25,000 programming assignments