Analyzing Ingenia

Analyzing Ingenia’s Pitch

* CEO Credibility – Does this person exude capability and convey confidence that they will achieve success against all obstacles?

Ramona’s voice is clear, concise and confident. It was a great place to begin the pitch but the ongoing professional experience of Ramona became really distracting. The perception of the company seems to rely on simply Ramona and not a team based approach. Her core team consists of people with “Masters” but in what field? How will their expertise contribute to the success of Vietnam? Are they experience dealing with Asian markets? In addition, does Ramona speak Vietnamese? Does she have local support? What are the demographics of Vietnamese people who want to have an education? Just because there are youth along the street where Ramona took her picture, it does not suggest those people would be willing to engage in e-learning. What makes her so sure?

* Management Team – Have they assembled a stellar team along with the other human and material resources required for success Consulltants (Willing to seek out consultants depending on the project)

The mention of seeking out consultants in addition to have a core team was very reassuring, however there does not seem to be enough of a team presence within the pitch for me to trust in this “team” she mentions. The only mention is of Ramona’s professional experience  but her team is missing from the picture. It doesn’t seem to be a team based production. Perhaps in a pitch, she wants to focus the attention on her professional qualifications but I find it hard to trust the venture when it seems like there is only one reliable face for the company. What if something happens to Ramona? Are there other people to follow up and support it? Will it be worth risking 100, 000 Canada for the suggested expected rate?

* Business Model – Is this feasible? – have they done their homework? – are their arguments and information accurate and compelling?

The business model seems to be feasible within a North American region and culture. Moving their ideas to Vietnam will probably include the differences in culture, language and environment. In their pitch, they have not really addressed this. Is it going to be a problem or since they are going to deal  with multinational companies, this is less of an issue. Regardless, the difference in regions in relationship to their past experience needs to be mentioned. As an investor, I want to know why they think that Vietnam would have the same positive reaction in Canada?

* Competitive Products – What is a realistic market size, market share and selling price that these products or services can capture in a very competitive world?

Ramona does not seem to mention who are the competitors. It seems she is underestimating the interest in Vietnam. Is that really reliable? If there is money to be made, why aren’t other competitors jumping at the opportunity. What are their hesitations?

* Market Readiness – How long and difficult is their critical path to success?

From the investments of the World Bank and other Asian financial institutions, why would they not hire their own e-strategy company to handle their own educational launches? Why would they hire Ingenia? If they are investing those amounts, what would keep them from establishing their own e-learning departments within their own institution? How can Ingenia ensure that the investments there will be interested In Ingenia? The breakdown of the finances seems to be unbalanced. $40K seems to be quite a large amount for the market development trips. It needs to be more specific within this part because this is a major part of the equation. What does she mean? It seems like she mentioned a lot of accommodations and hotels. Can there be a permanent establishment arrangement there. It seems the budget for the “trips” seem to use a lot of money. This needs to be reassessed and what kind of lifestyles are we talking about because this is 40% of the budget. I am not comfortable with this because it does not seem that Ramona has thoroughly researched the Vietnam context enough. It seems like she is using the 40K to see if this venture would be successful rather than using it to develop the already researched plan.

* Technical Innovation – Do they have an edge, and can they keep it?

The idea of promoting e-learning within Vietnam and this region gives Ingenia an edge, but it seems like that is all for their venture. What are their future goals? What will happen if the politics of Vietnam change? Is it really stable? Is Vietnam going to be the only target? Why are other companies not exploring opportunities in Vietnam? What are their reasons for not investing their money there. If there is money to be made, why are other companies not going there. Is it because they don’t see the growth that Ingenia sees or is it that the expected return rate is not as attractive? What are the reasons for other companies not to invest?

* Exit Strategy – Do they really know what success looks like – is their destination clear

They seem to know what their destination looks like. However, it seems their pitch is rather empty. There seems to be more information about Ramona, than there is about the Vietnam project. What has been confirmed with Ingenia as of this moment? *

Overall Investment Status – Am I going to risk my investment capital on this proposition?

At this time, I am interested in Ingenia’s pitch. However, I am hesistant because of the points above. The face of the company seems to be Ramona. I don’t know if I can risk spending that amount of capital into just simply one person’s professional experience. I need to see and meet the team. I would like to know more about the small team which is at the core of the company. This is a good beginning for a pitch. However, I still need a lot of persuasion beause there are things that she mentions which cause me to wonder if they are really able to establish a presence in Vietnam. I want to know more about the partnership firm and that company’s background. I still have a lot of questions regarding Ingenia. The presentation was very well put together with the slide presentation and Ramona’s voice but this is not enough persuasion for an investor to hand over the amount of money the company is asking for. A good beginning but needs a lot more references and support.

September 15, 2009   2 Comments

Comparison of Ingenia and UBC

I have decided to compare and comment on two very different pitches: Ramona’s from Ingenia and Ted’s from UBC.


Ramonacame across and a capable and confident speaker. The pitch was well-paced and easy to listen to and follow. Her credentials are high and she seems to have a strong team working with her. I found it interesting that due to the competitive Canadian and US markets and a decrease in spending, Ingenia has shifted their focus oversees to Vietnam. I do see that there is a need in Vietnam (and other countries in South East Asia) for e-learning programs, and I believe the market there is ready, I just wasn’t convinced from this pitch that Ingenia was the one to do it. Although they have already partnered with Vietnamese software firm, they admitted to not having much experience in Vietnam. Their goal, however, is clear: they want to establish themselves as a major learning services provider in Vietnam.


I was wondering who would be creating the curriculum for these courses as I believe that there are many cultural differences that must be considered when developing courses for another country. As an EVA I am intrigued by their idea, but I would definitely need to know more information about exactly how they are going to carry out this plan. I wanted to know more about the company and what they are doing in Canada so I found their website and noticed that they have since acquired many more Canadian clients.

I also noticed this update:

August 2009– Ingenia is pleased and proud to be involved with the 2010 Winter Olympics. The City of Vancouver has awarded Ingenia with a contract to design and develop classroom training for over 200 protocol officers.




Ted Dodds is clearly an intrapreneur who has been continually asking the question: “Where is the better business in this?”  Ted is extremely capable and he displayed confidence in what UBC has already accomplished and the level of success they hope to achieve in the future.  I was very engaged throughout the interview.

There is clearly a huge amount of support for the continuously developed e-learning strategy. The five Vice Presidents, faculty members of UBC, and members of the community work together to evolve and give voice to this strategy. This has been done through various methods such as an annual town hall meeting, conferences, meetings and monthly newsletters.

 This model is obviously feasible and has already shown a high level of success. There continues to be a demand for e-learning from the community and the innovators or “partners” are working within the various faculties in order to assist and develop the most up-to-date resources available.


Looking towards the future, Open Source software and a Community Source system connected with other universities are being discussed. Their destination is clear, with the objective being to making the best decisions for the faculties and the University, while continuing to raise the bar. I think many Universities could learn from what UBC has achieved so far in e-learning. As an EVA I would definitely support this kind of project at my University.

September 14, 2009   2 Comments



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.

September 14, 2009   4 Comments