Building the next generation of creative professionals in emerging economies

Founders Diego Olcese and Rodolfo Dañino
Sector Lifelong learning
Cohort EE5 (2016)
Location Lima, Peru
Venture partner

Barrie Heptonstall, former head of EMEA sales at IBM

Total raised after Emerge Education $1,650,000

April 2015: Company founded in Lima, Peru

Sept–Dec 2015: Wayra accelerator, 6k users

February 2016: Joins Emerge Education

October 2016: Seed round of $750k

January 2017: 3x user & 2x revenue growth in 6 months

May 2017: $900k round with Rethink Education

What is it?

Crehana is an online platform and community where Spanish-speaking professionals develop and refine creative and digital skills like web design, photography, and branding. By working through project-based courses developed by industry experts, students stay on top of constantly changing industry demands and master new tools of the trade.

Why we invested

The problem

Digital and creative professionals need to constantly update their skills to remain competitive in the marketplace, but the massive expansion of online education has left emerging economies behind. Some 75% of all online courses are in English, inaccessible to most speakers of Spanish or other languages.

The solution

Crehana is a place where freelancers learn a wide variety of digital and creative skills, with a first-mover advantage in the Latin American market. Unlike large platforms such as, Crehana’s highly curated Spanish-language courses are project-based, adding pedagogical value and giving students the opportunity to build portfolios as they learn.

The founders

Diego Olcese and Rodolfo Dañino are successful entrepreneurs with impressive track records. Their focus on data-driven improvement at every stage means they are building a fast-growing, exciting product that customers come back to again and again.

Diego’s story

Diego started Crehana in Peru in 2015 after a successful exit from his previous venture, a digital marketing agency. With co-founder Rodolfo, he saw an opportunity to build a highly-scalable business with an international outlook. By the time Diego applied to the Emerge programme, Crehana had had 80k free monthly users and made its first $100k in revenue.

Emerge Education gave me the confidence to think bigger. We felt validation from being invited to London. Even though we knew our product worked, we were not sure we could raise money, grow a large team, compete in the international market. Our eyes were opened and we made the decision to aim bigger and move fast.

Diego joined the Emerge programme at the start of 2016. Learning from successful founders in our network, like Ben Whately of Memrise, he developed a set of tactics to align the whole team around productivity and growth. After Emerge’s investor showcase, Crehana raised $750k in seed funding and accelerated right out of the gate, tripling the number of users and doubling monthly sales in just 6 months.

We found ourselves suddenly to be very well networked. It is hard to quantify, but so much follow on activity was down to embedding ourselves in London with Emerge. Because of Emerge, we met our first investors, and our second, and of course our latest round with Rethink.

What’s next?

After the Emerge programme, Crehana closed a seed round of $750k in October 2016, followed by a $900k bridge round led by Rethink Education in May 2017.

A recent analysis found that investing $150/year in courses on Crehana helps learners to almost double their monthly income. 60% of professionals who spend 3-4 hours a week on the platform quickly find new permanent or freelance jobs, with 80% of most active users getting twice the amount of offers every month.

With an expanding team and a new website in the pipeline, Crehana are well-positioned to reach their goal of $1m in revenue and 400k students in 2018.

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