Keith Schacht and Doug Peltz on What Traction Feels Like - at YC Edtech Night | Summary and Q&A

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Keith Schacht and Doug Peltz on What Traction Feels Like - at YC Edtech Night

TL;DR

Mystery Science is an interactive curriculum for elementary teachers that helps them teach science effectively, reaching a wide audience and solving the problem of boring science classes.

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Key Insights

  • ๐Ÿ‘ค Mystery Science founders Doug and Keith introduce themselves and their backgrounds, with Doug's teaching experience being a key factor in the creation of Mystery Science. They met in college and their shared interest in explaining science led them to start Mystery Science together.
  • ๐Ÿงช Mystery Science is an interactive curriculum designed to help elementary teachers, who usually do not have science specialists on staff, teach science effectively. The program features a virtual science expert named Doug who co-teaches the class with the teacher remotely.
  • ๐Ÿซ Mystery Science is used by more than 10% of schools in the country, with the number continuously growing. The exact number of schools is difficult to count, but the program is making a significant impact on elementary science education.
  • ๐Ÿ” The founding story of Mystery Science began when Keith saw Doug teaching in the classroom and believed that his teaching methods were effective. Keith, who had experience with startups, convinced Doug to join him in creating a science curriculum that was both engaging and informative for students.
  • ๐Ÿ”ฎ Mystery Science's goal is to bridge the gap between the fascinating nature of science and the often boring way it is taught in schools. The program aims to make science lessons more interactive, engaging, and enjoyable for students.
  • ๐Ÿ’ก The early days of Mystery Science were challenging, with multiple product pivots and struggles to find the right fit in the education market. They initially created products for parents, homeschoolers, and science specialists, but it was only when they focused on elementary teachers that they found success.
  • ๐Ÿ’ฐ Mystery Science has faced obstacles in selling their curriculum to schools, as they were competing against large, well-established publishers. However, by creating a product that teachers and students loved and using word-of-mouth marketing, they were able to gain traction and sell their curriculum successfully.
  • ๐Ÿ’ช Mystery Science's success ultimately came from the combination of a product that teachers loved, a network effect through word-of-mouth referrals, and an emphasis on creating value for both teachers and students. They identified a gap in the market and were able to fill it effectively.

Transcript

this is the last fireside chat tonight and I am very happy to introduce quiche act and Doug pelts from Mystery Science thank you whoo thanks could you guys just start us off by introducing yourselves please I'll let you go first okay I'm Doug from mystery science and I taught elementary middle school science for seven years before this guy convince... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did Mystery Science solve the problem of boring science classes?

Mystery Science solved the problem of boring science classes by creating an interactive curriculum that is engaging, interactive, and feels like a virtual science expert co-teaching with the teachers. This curriculum makes science more interesting and enjoyable for both teachers and students.

Q: How did Mystery Science convince teachers to use their curriculum?

Mystery Science convinced teachers to use their curriculum by creating a resource that teachers love and find valuable. They focused on making something that both teachers and students would enjoy and learn from, and teachers were eager to spread the word and use Mystery Science in their classrooms.

Q: How did Mystery Science overcome the challenges of selling to schools?

Mystery Science overcame the challenges of selling to schools by making something that teachers loved and found valuable. They focused on creating a product that solved a problem for teachers and students, and as a result, teachers were enthusiastic about using Mystery Science and sharing it with their peers, making the sales process easier.

Q: How did Mystery Science decide to join Y Combinator?

Mystery Science decided to join Y Combinator because they believed the program could help them take their business to the next level. They were already profitable and looking to scale their team and raise more funds, and they felt that YC could provide valuable advice, mentorship, and access to a network of entrepreneurs and investors.

Mystery Science joined Y Combinator because they believed that the program could provide valuable advice, mentorship, and access to a network of entrepreneurs and investors. They were already profitable and looking to scale their team and raise more funds, and they saw the opportunity to take their business to the next level with the support of YC.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Mystery Science is an interactive curriculum designed to help elementary teachers teach science effectively.

  • The curriculum is interactive, engaging, and feels like a virtual science expert named Doug who co-teaches with the teachers.

  • The founders, Doug and Keith, had a shared passion for explaining science and technology and wanted to make science education more interesting and engaging.

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