Today’s guest on the EdTech Startup Show is Mike Teng.
Mike Teng is the CEO and co-founder of Swing Education, a tech-enabled marketplace business that matches substitute teachers with schools in need. He was a software engineer in the private sector and then the tech director at a K-12 charter school network. He and two of his friends who are now co-founders saw the need for fill rates of substitute teachers in districts and decided to start Swing education.
Swing Education helps schools and districts find and schedule substitute teachers. They have also recently added tutoring with the same teachers in their classrooms.
During this episode, Mike and I discuss:
- How Mike saw a problem with fill rates of substitute teachers with his co-founders who convinced him to leave his nonprofit work to start Swing Education.
- He explains the challenges they went through getting their software out there and how they navigated the pricing model.
- The cultural value in education organizations that makes decision making consensus-driven and leads to inefficiency when it comes to sales.
- He explains how they are trying to capture and utilize the on-demand teachers workforce that exists.
- How they convince school districts to buy into their program throughout the 50 states.
- How tutoring has worked for them as an addition to their existing business in a highly competitive space.
- How to implement investments correctly as a new founder by making the right decision.
- How empathy learned in parenting translates to good leadership.
- He explains how to eliminate time spent making phone calls without sacrificing good relationships in a business.
- Mike encourages people to learn more about the Black Lives Matter social justice movement.
Time-stamped questions from this episode:
- [0:44] Tell me about Swing education and your role there?
- [2:10] What did you see or notice in terms of statistics, insight, or observation that gave you that spark to think of this as a problem that needs to be solved?
- [3:40] Was there a period you were doing both technology and Swing education?
- [6:37] Have you had an assumption or a belief about either the product, the marketing, or how to operate it, that you had to question and then change your mind about?
- [11:55] What have you learned as a requirement for your business when interacting with districts that you would advise someone on a similar path?
- [17:29] What do you see about the current status of the idea of an on-demand teacher workforce?
- [21:17] How do you navigate the teacher’s credentialing process through 50 different states with 50 different education systems?
- [23:47] How has launching a new area of business been for you?
- [26:45] Do you see Swing offering tutors to help students during the typical school days?
- [29:31] What advice do you have for early-stage founders when it comes to fundraising and making good decisions in implementing investments?
- [33:33] How does your background in engineering affect your leadership?
- [36:52] What are some people or resources or books that you feel like you’ve learned from in your journey with Swing?
- [42:06] What is your business processes standpoint in general?
- [47:17] What is your final suggestion or call to action where people can learn more about you and your business?
Links from this episode:
- Swing education Website: https://swingeducation.com/
- Mike’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mpteng
- Book Mentioned: Hot Seat: The Startup CEO Guidebook by Dan Shapiro
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