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Simbound is an interesting, bootstrapped educational technology startup that offers cloud-based simulation-based programs to teach students how to most efficiently use various online marketing tools - without taking any risks.
Started and currently based in Romania (though moving to the South of France shortly), the company's Internet marketing simulation games are currently used in nearly 100 universities around the world, by more than 11.000 Graduate and Undergraduate students.
As Simbound founder Louis Havriliuc explains in the video interview above (apologies for the subpar sound quality, you're advised to turn on captions), the startup's solutions are sold directly to educational institutions as part of a curriculum or marketing program.
Students can use Simbound to better grasp the way online marketing campaigns are set up and fine-tuned, ranging from email marketing to online search advertising campaigns, but in a risk-free (and neutral) environment where it all revolves around learning by doing.The price is 50 euros per license per student and, importantly, Simbound doesn't endorse any specific brand, product and/or Internet marketing method. Licenses are sold directly or through resellers in the US, France, The Netherlands and elsewhere.
Havriliuc pegs the size for online marketing simulation-based programs at more than 1 million euros per year, adding that Simbound is the leading academic solution in the marketplace despite competition from some of the world's biggest tech companies. In the interview, he says the biggest problem with selling the SaaS solution directly to universities is making instructors aware of the solutions in the first place.
While it's boosting its marketing and sales efforts to fix that, the company is currently mostly working to make its solution mobile-friendly, and to expand into new markets in 2016. In the interview, Havriliuc mentions social media and community management as possible new territories for its simulation software.
Simbound is looking for funding to accelerate its growth, but Havriliuc claims he's been approached by both investors and potential buyers in the past, only to turn them down over a 'lack of compatibility' between their profiles and his long-term objectives for the company.
As the company continues to grow, we'll see how many more investors come knocking before Havriliuc agrees to taking funding from a like-minded financier.