Quick Summary: In 2013 we started developing eLearning tools for anyone to be able to launch an online academy and sell courses. Fast forward 4 years, we found our niche to be Restaurant Employee Training. Thus, we started a Restaurant LMS we called Kiwi, which we believe to be a fast and easy path to train restaurant employees, from chefs to servers.
Tell us about yourself and the business you started …
My name is Ridvan Aliu, and I am the Founder and CEO of Kiwi LMS. I independently learned computer programming at age 13, and went on to study Multimedia Design and Software Engineering at University. My next step was to serve at Fortune 100 companies—Microsoft, Amazon, Disney and Real Networks—as program manager, senior software engineer and solution architect. Then, I founded a software consulting firm, Real Visualz, and became a direct vendor with Microsoft and Amazon.
In the effort to recruit software engineers in Eastern Europe, I created my own online academy to produce more quality engineers in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia. In 2012, I created EDUonGo as a means to help anyone create their own online course—no programming knowledge required. We helped host more than 1,000 online academies around the world in our cloud-based management system. As a result of a successful experience we had with one of our clients (who happened to be in the restaurant industry), I was inspired to build Kiwi LMS.
Who is the market for your business?
The market for our business is mainly Quick-Service Restaurants.
In fact, we decided to target the Restaurant market after El Pollo Loco approached Kiwi to build a custom eLearning solution to fit their needs. And since Kiwi is 100% API based, EPL chose Kiwi to power their digital training. Apart from El Pollo Loco, some of our other clients are TGI Fridays, Taziki's Mediterranean Café, etc.
What problem does your solution solve?
Kiwi provides a cloud-based Learning Management System that enables restaurant chains train their employees with ease and efficiency without high costs in doing so.
Many of our clients have switched to Kiwi from other LMSs because of the flexibility our platform provides in terms of adding/subtracting features. We made sure to build a content-friendly LMS so that instructors can create beautiful learning plans using our drag-and-drop authoring tools. This content can easily be organized, reused and shared with employees. As for evaluation, it can easily be done through the rich selection of types of quizzes available.
Other features we offer to our clients are the possibility to easily create a variety of widgets in the dashboard, come up with their own learning plans, generate custom reporting related to employee roles, assign employees and managers to different user roles, and certify employees after they have completed their specific learning plans and activities.
As for security requirements, no matter what they are, Kiwi has its clients covered. We pay attention to security so that our users have the best experience possible.
Why is it better than other solutions?
We pride ourselves in being a very customizable platform. Kiwi’s user experience can be completely re-designed according to the client's needs and desires, as opposed to our competition, who only allows you to change minor things like the logo or color scheme. With Kiwi you can bring your own designers and come up with a completely different look and feel because Kiwi is built 100% on APIs (Application Programming Interface).
What are the biggest benefits for your customers?
The biggest benefits our customers gain must be the freedom we allow them in customizing their own learning platform.
Our customers love the flexibility of Kiwi in terms of designing their own solution on top of our APIs. Another thing that makes us different from others is that we charge per location/per month with unlimited users per location, whereas our competition charges per user/per month. We include 22 development hours every month for the customer to make any future changes.
We believe that appropriate employee training is very important for employee retention, and we believe the best way to do it is online, using an LMS. And for the restaurant industry, we are confident that Kiwi LMS offers the best solution out there.
A Kiwi a day keeps the need for more employees away!
Where did the idea for the business come from?
Here is the story of how Kiwi came about in a little timeline:
- In 2012 – It all started with the launch of a virtual academy to train software engineers which we called EDUonGo. It was created to facilitate a collaborative eLearning environment enabling anyone to launch an online academy in minutes.
- In 2013 – Steven Yee became a partner. He later became the COO of EDUonGo. And soon after, Circulus Education became a partner and investor in EDUonGo.
- From 2013 to 2016 – EDUonGo proved its product to be the most flexible in the market. It generated over $1M in revenue and served 230,000+ users.
- In 2016 – El Pollo Loco adopted EDUonGo to train its employees in 500 restaurant locations. Victor Chow joined EDUonGo as the Head of Sales to help seal the deal with El Pollo Loco.
From an amazing experience with El Pollo Loco and the market analysis we did in the Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) segment, we got excited enough to give birth to the brand new product we are now talking about, Kiwi.
The rest is history…
What advice do you have for people just starting out?
In the software business, it is ideal to find a client before building the product. Basically, you start building your product together hand-in-hand with a client that is willing to wait and give you feedback while developing the product. Consider your first five client(s) as your founding partners; you need to make them extremely happy before expanding your business.
Learn more about Kiwi LMS from https://startkiwi.com.