Tuition is expensive, and rising. Lock&Stock connects students with guaranteed fee waivers and scholarships to universities in the UAE and across the world, and has helped students save millions of dirhams since its launch in 2017.
Number of university partners on Lock&Stock [end of year] - 2018 - 3 2019 - 28 2020 [ongoing] - 436
Private universities for student enrolment English language testing centres, SAT prep centres, etc. for student enrolment Consumer brands for student customer acquisition
Problem or Opportunity
For students, university tuition is very expensive, and is rising very rapidly.
For universities, student acquisition is becoming increasing expensive due to crowding in the marketplace.
Lock&Stock simplifies this by connecting universities and students on one platform through our gamified model. We are underpinning this with advancements in university admissions technology, such as our in-house built recommendation engine and machine learning powered virtual university counsellor.
Solution (product or service)
Through Lock&Stock, in 2019 we became the largest single source of enrolments in UAE private higher education, accounting for over 2% of all enrolments in the industry. We are set to further consolidate that in 2020 with market share projected to increase to between 6-8% of total private higher ed enrolments.
We are now in the process of building a Enrolments focused application, with UI, UX, functionality and referral loop systems all designed towards maximising student enrolment.
1. Exhibitions and fairs, such as GETEX 2. Educational agencies and consultancies
Advantages or differentiators
1. Exhibitions are a very traditional source of student acquisition. However, education exhibitions are one or two day affairs, and students may or may not receive fee waivers at these events. Furthermore, they are poor with data management. Lock&Stock can engage with its student audience continuously, week after week, for as a long as a student remains on the platform, and every student is provided with a guaranteed fee waiver or scholarship.
2. Other educational consultancies and agencies begin engagement with students 6-8 months prior to the enrolment decision, and may or may not have access to scholarships and fee waivers. Lock&Stock engages with students on a weekly basis from early high school through its gamified model, utilises data for better matching, consultation and targeting, and provides all students with guaranteed scholarships and fee waivers.
1. Commission from universities for student enrolment is our largest source of revenue. 2. Our second largest source of revenue is marketing expenditure from universities for additional promotion on the platform. 3. Other sources of revenue include commission per redemption at brand partners, market research surveys and other branding opportunities.
In 2019, operational expenses were 48% of revenue, providing Lock&Stock with a net profit margin of 52%. We anticipate this to rise to 70% in 2020.
Money will be spent on
1. Building a dedicated Enrolments focused mobile app 2. Building our team 3. Scaling outside the UAE
1. Regulations reduce the amount private universities can spend on marketing activities. Although there have been calls for this by far-left activists in certain countries, we do not reckon this to be a probable possibility.
2. Higher education completely transitions online, lowering the price point for tuition and thus the commission received per enrolment. While many say that this is the future of education, we believe that there will always be an offline element to higher education learning, resulting in more of a hybrid model and maintaining the current price point.
Won the competition and other awards
Lock&Stock was awarded 'most innovative education incentive' at the Middle East business awards 2020.
Craig Fernandes, co-founder and CEO, was the recipient of the Arabian Business Future Stars Award in 2019 for his work with Lock&Stock.
Craig Fernandes, co-founder and CEO, was named one of the 20 most influential entrepreneurs in the GCC in 2020 for his work with Lock&Stock.