Ingenia is a consulting service based in Vancouver, which offers “E-learning strategy development and instructional design of classroom and online courses”. Ramona Materi, president of Ingenia pitches a plan to establish her company a major learning services provider in Vietnam.


In her pitch, Ramona mentions several potential challenges to her company. First she states that although her team is based in Vancouver, there is no home market for her venture plans. However, she claims that conditions are favourable for targeting the country of Vietnam because there are presently few e-learning players in the market place, the country’s population is relatively young, and there has been recent global investment from other countries. Ramona is also realistic about her North American competitors stating competition is strong, yet appears confident that some prior experiences in Vietnam and the timeliness of her opportunity gives her company somewhat of a competitive edge.

Ingenia claims to be an industry leader in E-learning comprised of a highly qualified core team. Many members of the team hold masters degrees or higher. Ramona proclaims herself as a “guru” in the field and supports her claim by highlighting her involvement in several international speaking arrangements. The need to host their data on a low-bandwidth server based in Vancouver is mentioned along with the obvious need for quality language translation resources. Although it is unclear whether these resources have been secured, it seems reasonable to assume Ramona will be able to do so.

Though I would need to further investigate the potential E-learning markets in Vietnam, Ramona appears to have done her homework and presents a fairly compelling case. I would to have heard more data and statistics regarding the potential market size. I need to know more information about access to the required technology as well as literacy rates, living conditions, education levels etc.

As an educational venture analyst, I have a few concerns about Ramona’s pitch. First, I would like to know more about the competitors in this market. Ramona mentions that a public/private Japanese consortium is already active in E-learning in Vietnam, but to what extent are they involved? One could reasonably assume that the Japanese consortium would have more experience and background in the Vietnamese market. This doesn’t mean there is not room for Ingenia in Vietnam’s e-learning market; however, the potential for the competition to limit large-scale clientele and revenue certainly exists in the long run.

Secondly, as an EVA, I question Ingenia’s plans to charge its investors $40,000 to fund market development trips to Vietnam for two people, four times in 15 months. If the company truly wishes to establish a presence in Vietnam before the competition does, why limit yourself to business trips for only two people. While I acknowledge times have changed and the beauty of Ingenia’s services is that they can technically be offered from a distance, I would have like to have heard plans to relocate some staff to Vietnam. The plans to only travel there made me question the level of commitment toward the venture. I could be wrong, but since I’m the one deciding to hand over $100, 000 I think I’m entitled to an opinion here.


1 Ian Doktor { 09.14.09 at 6:07 pm }

Reading your comments as an EVA brought up some questions. First, if someone claims to be an expert in a particular field or states something like ‘there is room for substantial growth in the area of online learning in a place like Vietnam”, how much would you accept at face value and how much supporting documentation would you need?

2 Erik Van Dusen { 09.14.09 at 7:11 pm }

Hi Ian,

Thanks for your comment. In the end, I would not be willing to take anything at face value as claims made during a pitch do need to be supported at some point in time,especially if investors are expected to consider throwing their cash at a venture. I wonder if those making the pitch are required to support their claims and provide proof, references, citations, data, etc. before an EVA can fully assess and evaluate the pitch.


3 Lorne Upton { 09.14.09 at 8:15 pm }

Hello Eric,

I agree. There just doesn’t seem to be enough information about the target market, and the information that is provided seem a little contradictory.


4 Iris Chan { 09.15.09 at 7:16 am }


Your post is very informative because of the depth of your understanding regarding ventures. It was very insightful to really understand how much one is expected to invest in a venture and all the factors that need to be expressed or consulted.

Your reference regarding support and evidence is extremely vital. Once the pitch is successful, the research into the credibility of the pitch is vital. References, citations and data cannot be overlooked because as you say an EVA has certain responsibilities to fulfill.


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