Sunday 19 November 2017

Irish teens make €20k from a €20 note with website idea - and now plan 'to blow everything out of the water'

'Between us we got 30 As in the Junior Cert so we thought we would share all of our notes with every student in Ireland'

(Left to right) J-C Learn founders: Johnnie Bell, Eamonn Flannery and Jack Manning.
(Left to right) J-C Learn founders: Johnnie Bell, Eamonn Flannery and Jack Manning.
Pictured (left - right) Eamonn Flannery, Jack Manning and Johnnie Bell
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

Three Irish teenagers are gearing up for exam season - but they won't have their heads stuck in the books.

Instead, Dublin students Johnnie Bell (17), Eamonn Flannery (17) and Jack Manning (18) are helping other students to try and hit their A-grades.

The Clonkeen College trio created subscription-based online learning service ExamLearn with just a €20 investment last year and have made €20,000 in revenue in just 18 months.

Almost 25,000 students have since signed up to the award-winning service, both free members and paid.

And their future plan is "to blow everything out of the water."

"We were 15 when we started working on ExamLearn," Johnnie Bell told Independent.ie.

Pictured (left - right) Eamonn Flannery, Jack Manning and Johnnie Bell
Pictured (left - right) Eamonn Flannery, Jack Manning and Johnnie Bell

"Between us we got 30 As in the Junior Cert so we thought we would share all of our notes with every student in Ireland.

"We spent five months working on it during our Transition Year in school and launched it in January 2016.

"We've since added a Leaving Certificate element through a partnership with students who received 625 points in their exams and it has gone well."

The Cabinteely friends spend hours after school working on their website and plan to spend the whole summer improving the content for next year's subscribers.

"We plan on doing it all this summer and to add in online quizzes and a tool where a student can track their progress, as well as custom-made timetables," Johnnie continued.

"There's three of us on the team, we're constantly trying to create more content and especially focus on the Junior Cert because there has been a upheaval of content since the changes. We also have a few good new features and we're always coming up with new ideas.

"It's all online so we like to keep things interesting.

"We've only used the money we've made from the website to re-invest in the site and we've almost reached €20,000 revenue in just 18 months.

"Jack does the technical side of the website, he manages that, but the three of us divide the content out in relation to the subjects."

The company do all their advertising online and on social media and offer a 14-day free trial to anybody who's thinking about signing up.

"People sign up to content across different subjects. Students can get a free trial with access to a limited amount of content to get a feel of what we have on offer," the 17-year-old said hitting sales-mode. 

"It's €39.99 for a Junior Cert student for the year and it's €99.99 for a Leaving Cert student, and that includes everything on the site.

"It's a really easy payment system, it's minimal work, and all you need to do is put in your details.

"The student gets access to everything they need, there are three categories; the subject notes, all various notes and chapters; past exam answers and study tips, which include the overview; and exam guidelines and statistics for that subject."

Johnnie said the team have won an award at the Dublin Student Enterprise Awards and also benefited from a 12-hour workshop on social media after their win with the IEDR's OPTIMISE Fund.

And the teen has already caught the 'business bug'.

"Before ExamLearn I wouldn't have had much of an idea about what I wanted to do, but now I know I'd love to go into entrepreneurship," he said.

"I know now it's a lot easier to make a positive difference that I thought, in terms of creating my own business and helping people."

And the future of ExamLearn?

"In the foreseeable future, hopefully we will be able to automate some of the tasks we do and keep up our strong content.

"Education technology in Ireland lacks a lot, but hopefully if we can create a really powerful service it will blow everything out of the water."

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News