ACE Startup Feature – CoachReg
The Well-Schooled Entrepreneur
A banker, a teacher, a B2B service industry business owner and now the founder of CoachReg, Isabelle Loo proves that there are lessons to be learnt from every experience.
Isabelle Loo’s resume is nothing if not colourful.
“People look at my background and think that my career is mixed bag of experiences but that’s only because they don’t see the common denominator — they’re all my passions,” said the petite, well-coiffed entrepreneur.
As a student, Isabelle excelled in maths, which led her to study finance in university and begin a career in banking. But she never forgot the sense of satisfaction she got as a tutor during her undergraduate days, so she eventually left the banking sector for the National Institute of Education.
After training, she spent 11 fulfilling years as an educator, even rising to the rank of Head of Department in a primary school, before she decided, once again, to leave it all behind.
“I think I was raised to be a businesswoman. My parents ran a small business and from young, I learnt by watching over their shoulders and helping out after school,” explained Isabelle. “I felt it was the right time to strike out on my own — to do something for myself — so I started my first venture.”
That first startup was a B2B business in the service industry that quickly gained a reputation for high quality standards. Meanwhile, at home, her three young children were growing quickly and as a parent, Isabelle struggled to find the right enrichment classes for them. The entrepreneur in her immediately saw a business opportunity and actualyse.com was born.
“The idea behind actualyse.com is to create a comprehensive, one-stop online directory of private schools and enrichment classes. But instead of setting it up as a business, I decided to establish a holding company, CoachReg, under which actualyse.com would be a brand. I think it’s important to segregate the holding company from the brand because the latter is an asset that can be created, grown and eventually sold off,” she said.
While actualyse.com is Isabelle’s flagship product, she understands that a business of its nature requires time to grow and gain traction. This is why she’s allowing private schools to list themselves on the actualyse.com directory for free at the moment. Instead, she turns to her two other brands, School Consultancy and School Brokerage, for revenue.
“School Consultancy and School Brokerage are actually spinoffs from actualyse.com. To build actualyse.com, we spend a lot of time engaging schools, parents and learners. In our interactions with schools and educators, we realised that many of them needed help in a variety of other areas from curriculum planning to marketing — that’s where School Consultancy comes in,” explained Isabelle.
“We also found out that there’s a large and active market for education investment, with private schools looking to expand their footprint locally or abroad on one hand, and investors looking for sound investment opportunities on the other. School Brokerage brings the two together.”
With so much happening, Isabelle relies on her young and growing team to hold the fort.
“One of the most important lessons I learnt from my first venture was to delegate. To nurture, train and trust my people to get things done. If I had one piece of advice to give fellow entrepreneurs, it’s to harness the power of teamwork.”
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