Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2016 (Revised January 2017)

Rumie: Bringing Digital Education to the Underserved

by John J-H Kim and Amram Migdal

Abstract

In fall of 2015, the Toronto, Canada–based education technology nonprofit Rumie had distributed thousands of computer tablets preloaded with collections of thousands of pieces of curated educational content to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in some of the most impoverished countries around the world lacking in basic educational resources. Founder and executive director Tariq Fancy, with his team, were deciding whether to accept a large new order from an NGO in Pakistan that would require Rumie for the first time to provide ongoing services such as teacher training, performance monitoring, and other support. Some on the team felt that providing a full suite of bundled services would detract from their recent push to decouple Rumie's software and services from the physical tablets to achieve greater reach and scale. In October 2015, Rumie opened the LearnCloud, its proprietary online content curation portal for NGOs, to the public. Now anyone could discover, share, and rate free digital educational content from any source. Fancy considered, "Education access represents a big order and huge growth, but does it lead us into doing things we haven't done before, may not be good at, and may not be scalable to be used by different partners in different geographies?"

Keywords: education; Edtech; education technology; social enterprise; technological innovation; nonprofit; education startup; Technological Innovation; Nonprofit Organizations; Social Entrepreneurship; Education; Business Startups; Education Industry; Canada; Africa;

Citation:

Kim, John J-H, and Amram Migdal. "Rumie: Bringing Digital Education to the Underserved." Harvard Business School Case 316-140, January 2016. (Revised January 2017.)