Watch and learn: UST grads pursue video training venture


ilosmainA great way to learn how to do something is by watching someone else do it. This makes video the ultimate digital training tool, especially when it can be created and shared with such ease.

Yet, several years ago, while working in finance in Corporate America, Nick Stokman noticed that these important educational processes weren’t being handled efficiently.

“I was stunned by the fact that there weren’t better ways of communicating knowledge that we have to other people around the office,” he says.

And so Stokman teamed up with Sean Higgins, a fellow business guy and peer St. Thomas graduate, to create a new company in autumn of 2012. ilos Videos is designed to make it easier than ever for businesses, schools and other organizations to create and share video content for the purposes of training and education.

Sure, it’s not exactly a groundbreaking concept. But Stokman and Higgins believe that ilos can succeed where present options are failing. Oftentimes, that is the basis for a good business.

The product has been in development since late 2012 and is now “at the very end of the beta stage,” according to Higgins. He says that ilos already has 12 customers, one of them being the founders’ alma mater, St. Thomas University, which they credit with helping them immensely in the early going. The company has also raised capital with the assistance of the Norris Institute and its director Mike Moore.

ilos runs on a monthly subscription model, and the wheelhouse is larger and more complex organizations that can best maximize the software’s ability to create “knowledge hubs” with seamless in-browser creation and simple sharing features. Stokman says that ilos has more of a social slant than most existing video training platforms, making it more relevant to today’s users.

Stokman and Higgins both readily acknowledge that they specialize in business, not tech, but they’ve put together a team of 12 (four full-time) to help with coding and development. Presently, they are “a tweak or two away from ilos 1.0.”

When it officially launches, they will work on building their client list, with an initial focus on small to medium sized businesses in the Minnesota area. The rate of conversion from free trial to paid subscription has been very high during their beta, so they are confident that the market will be receptive once the product is fully live.