A Dutch translation of this article can be found on Emerce.
Hi Frank, what does Virtual Film School do?
Virtual Film School teaches new media content creation, using technologies like VR, providing a fun and supportive learning experience, taught live from LA, London and the metaverse. We offer an accredited BA degree starting mid this year. The business model is based on tuition. Due to lower costs by using virtual buildings and virtual sets, tuition is quite lower – like 10x lower– than that of a normal American film school.
We’re doing this because we are different from other film schools. We’re in the metaverse, to start with. We are teaching new media. And as opposed to other schools, so many students have gone around and gotten real career success. We feel we have found the right content and structure.
We have done test classes in Finland, Japan, China (with the Beijing Film Academy, where we got to make the first Titktoks made for the Olympics), Singapore, and a few in California. And we are admitted to the 12 week EdTech program of Supercharger Ventures.
What is the drive behind it all?
In the world of social media and social video, there is immense power and the opportunity to make a positive impact. Social video is the most powerful tool in history. You can communicate so much to so many people. When you do it right, you get Greta Thunberg, who started by making videos to stop using plastic straws at her high school, and she went on to speak to the UN General Assembly. When you do it right, you get the Ice bucket challenge to find a cure for ALS. When you do it wrong, you get terrible things I won’t get into. Either way, it can have immense power.
We help students to it right.
Are you currently fundraising?
At the end of our accelerator program we are looking for $2mio USD. Our business model is two fold. We are partnering with schools and the partner schools enroll students. When properly financed, we can advertise directly to consumers and can enroll them. So the external capital attracted will go to marketing. It will also be used to progress our software along and pay salaries, stipends and other Business Development activities.
What would the dream investor bring to the table other than financial capital?
It would be great if we would have someone from the edtech world. It would also be great if someone would be interested in virtual reality and have some with expertise in advertising and marketing.
Besides financial capital, what knowledge would be nice to add from a joining informal investor?
The knowledge that we as a team don’t know we’re missing yet! This could be in the field of scaling up e-commerce, but also, for example, in the field of scaling up a fair supply chain and circularity, such as with our plastic-free tea bags that can be collected at the GFT. You learn from mistakes, but all mistakes that an informal investor can protect us from are a bonus.
Do you have advice for other founders based on your experience so far?
Stick with it. We formed the company in 2018, started teaching in 2019 and were almost wiped out by the pandemic. We stayed with it and are getting more partners around the world now. I would like to add to that: only stick with it if your idea has validation. When people hear how we are doing this virtual art form within online visual media, their immediate response is: of course that works.
Oh, and…don’t just get validation from your friends.
Have you ever gotten a question or advice that got you thinking?
Yeah, we have. It was before we launched. I was still a professor in Clapham University. I got the question: Why don’t you take your idea to the school you are already in. We took an existing course and made it digital and tested it. And it worked. You can see a video of that on our website.
Want more information on Virtual Film School? You can find them on Fundsup, follow their progress and connect with them before they’re done with the accelerator. https://api.fundsup.co/go/cvEpdzvNkj
Important note for interested investors that worry about cross border or cross continent investing: Virtual Film School has a US and a UK legal entity.