Interview with Virtually founder Ish Baid

Ish Baid is the CEO & Founder of Virtually, a tool that empowers individuals and organizations to build and scale their own online schools. He’s an Ex-Facebook Software Engineer and University of Michigan Computer Science graduate. 

1. What is Virtually?

Virtually allows anyone to build and scale an online school. We do this by bringing together payment processing, conferencing, and student management. 

2. How did you come up with the idea?

I was trapped in a Winter storm about a year and a half ago. I was playing around with some video conferencing software and realized how far it had come. In that moment, it all kind of clicked. The future of education would be online. It’s more affordable. It’s more accessible. And it gives you the opportunity to learn from the absolute best within a subject area; not just someone who just happens to be local.

3. What was your journey to get to where you are today?

I was a Software Engineer at Facebook for about two years before starting Virtually. While I learned a lot, I ultimately had the itch to go out and start something of my own. Particularly, solve an unsolved problem. For about the next 9 months I was heads down working. Primarily talking to customers and building product. Right around November was when I was able to show off some of the traction we had gained to investors in San Francisco and ended up closing our first round of funding. Since then, we’ve been growing steadily up until COVID-19 at which point our business absolutely exploded (in a good way). 

4. What is the future of Virtually and how has the coronavirus changed the learning industry?

Virtually is striving to democratize education. We believe that the best way to job train is not by attending a four-year university to learn out-dated practices. Instead, we believe that learning should happen by practicing along-side industry experts who have spent years mastering their craft. Our platform lets companies and reputable individual start their own full-fledged online universities. 

5. What advice would you give to young budding entrepreneurs?

Optimize for learning. You’re not going to get right the first time. So ruthlessly spend time getting to know your customers and where their pain and fears lie. Only when you’ve solved an important problem for someone will you be able to build a sustainable business. 

We would like to thank Ish for speaking with us.

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