Minneapolis-based MentorMate commenced the development of a mobile e-learning system called iQpakk in 2000, patented the technology in 2001 and launched in 2002 on the Pocket PC, Palm and Symbian platforms. Built around Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning objective classifications, the mobile technology would revolve around three core components: the manager, the generator and the learner.
But the new technology gained little traction and a harsh reality emerged: iQpakk was too far in front of the market — introduced at time when Internet-enabled mobile device adoption failed to live up to its potential. Years of hard work and capital investment would be shelved with no foreseeable future. “We were at the dawn of mobile learning in the early 2000’s, but I couldn’t make any money for the life of me,” he recollects.
As fate would have it, the firm’s entrepreneurial muster has prevailed; some eight years later, MentorMate enters multiple agreements to license a re-engineered version of iQpakk through iOS/iPad deployment. “Dusting it off, we had to start somewhere [iOS] and as demand dictates, we’ll also update the technology for other modern operating platforms,” he notes.
Last week MentorMate receive a “significant” grant from a $300m Minnesota company in the health care equipment leasing space and a local education provider with 3,000 students enrolled per semester. Under the terms, MentorMate will license the product to both organizations and develop a supporting program curriculum in the areas of: multimedia production, project management, wireless and media, web design for mobile devices and advanced 3D modeling and animation.
Within the last 90 days, MentorMate has also inked a deal with a large local medical device company to leverage iQpakk by enabling sales representatives to learn about new products, sales techniques and material industry changes — all on the fly. A similar arrangement is in the works with a European medical device company in the $3B/year range according to MentorMate.
“We almost had to fold MentorMate in the early days since iQpakk wasn’t growing as expected, but we managed to change the strategic direction of the company and focus on developing new products which the market was more receptive towards. Meanwhile, I never lost sight of the vision for an innovative mobile learning management system with global potential. Now, that time has come and we’re poised to capitalize,” says CEO Stansvik.