Incorporated in London in 2015, 4Delta Group is a team of experienced scientists and engineers devoted to advancing material technology. BEng Aerospace Engineering and Astronautics student, Achilleas Sesis tells us “At 4Delta we embrace revolutionary ideas in applied, formal and natural sciences to educate, research and develop future disruptive technologies.”
As part of their vision for a sustainable secure and fairer world, they have also created 4Delta Education. “A Cloud-based service which carefully formulates training courses designed to bring technology, science and the arts closer together. We gathered the right knowledge and adapted it for you, aiming to stimulate questions, creativity and innovation.”
Achilleas, please tell us about your business!
At 4Delta Education we have created a series of carefully formulated online training courses designed to bring technology, science and the arts closer. We have gathered the right knowledge and adapted it for students, aiming to stimulate questions, creativity and innovation. In modern societies acquiring a sense of self-productivity is an attractive and necessary trait. 3D printing is a technology capable of converting virtual designs into physical objects and currently experiencing an uptake in education. Produced by lead technologists, our first course Introduction to Computer Aided Design (CAD) and 3D Printing, is designed to give the trainee a transferrable professional technical skill. At its core it combines and explores numerous topics in CAD and 3D printing. Our second course delivers advanced CAD skillset, as well as introduces computational engineering analysis skills. Importantly none of the courses require technical background and all the elements are delivered through the latest computer Cloud technologies, thus allowing greater flexibility.
What inspired you to start your business?
The company was established on the basis of creating applied technology inspired by nature, a topic also known as biomimetics with numerous applications in engineering, materials technology and medical science. Knowing that acquiring capital for high-risk technology concept is difficult, we decided to create a service originating from our technical backgrounds. During that process it soon dawned on us that there is a general need for societies to become more self-reliant and independent from third party services (essentially you can’t leave your life to be automated by apps). Thus we embark on a journey to create an e-learning service bias in applied high tech and delivered over a short time, unlike other e-training platforms (e.g. udacity, Lynda, udemy, edx, etc.) expanding over months. Our training courses are designed for newcomers in the technical field and comprehensible for trainees starting from secondary education and above.
What was your biggest fear about starting a business and how have you overcome it?
In my view fear is not a feeling, which is prominent amongst entrepreneurs, since the whole notion about your project is shrouded in risk. Importantly you are willing to take it forwards and this persistence is what overcomes all of the barriers.
“Be persistent, the worst you can do is to give up on the first hurdle. Be open to advice and never stop looking for knowledge since it is generated constantly across the globe. Listen to the critics not the cynics and above all stay positive.” – Achilleas Sesis
How does your business differ from others? What’s your USP?
Current technology users face a steep learning curve when getting to grips with new equipment. Take for example someone who has recently purchased a laser engraving machine and has no experience with the technology, but wishes to rapidly obtain the skills needed to carry out a variety of jobs and start their own engraving business. Or, for example, a recent engineering graduate who wishes to add some practical skills to their repertoire prior to job-hunting. Options for both are self-teaching, formal education, or obtaining employment in the industry and becoming professionally trained. Since the latter two are impractical in many cases due to the time and money investment involved, a user teaching themselves through trial and error is often the method employed. This is why users can often be found asking questions online, in forums, when troubleshooting or generally looking to improve their skills.
Our unique selling proposition (USP) will offer the new alternative: an affordable, extremely high quality, highly adaptable training environment to provide practical knowledge, which can be followed without the need for a significant academic background. In particular our service currently targets educational institutions (secondary schools and further education) and individuals. We aim to use the latest Cloud computing services, provide high-quality course content, as well as post-training mentoring and services, something, which is not common in similar services. We aim to make our courses as engaging as possible by incorporating themes such as gamification, personalised learning using artificial intelligent and augmented reality tools e.g. allowing students to manipulate their designs in a 3D virtual reality environment. We also aim to create content which is accredited as well as acknowledged by end-user adopters (i.e. industry). Our e-Learning platform is ideally suited to address numerous issues highlighted above, since to our knowledge we are the only platform to have a policy to only offer practical high tech knowledge, as well as being readily adaptable to address the modern educational requirements.
How did you come up with your business name and branding imagery?
At its core 4Delta is a materials technology company. The name originates from the next generation of materials and manufacturing technology, i.e. 4D printing
How have you promoted or marketed your business?
Our target market segments are two-fold:
- Secondary education establishments who could use our courses as a teaching aid for a variety of courses within the STEM and Art curricula.
- Independent individuals. Typically 14-years-old and above, who either have a personal interest or wanting to achieve a career.
Our academic training licences will be offered to named person only, thus continuous replenishment of our user cohort should allow for a healthy growth. For the educational sector our research indicates that an initial face-to-face introduction is key in achieving long-term commitment from the sector. This will require 4Delta members visiting schools. More academic avenues, such as targeted articles in education, technology industry magazines and seminars at conferences are also a viable route, with a particular emphasis to the latter.
For our individual sector we believe that the need to create an ecosystem of material which acts as a form of friendly, gentle introduction to an online content, thus creating a platform for social learning through forums, a blog, videos, podcasts, newsletters etc. The platform aims to inspire people to want to create, build, make and tinker, and to give them some free knowledge to entice them to learn more through a paid course. In addition targeting and working together with complimentary platforms related to one’s career changes will be key in communicating our brand and services.
Finally, carefully choosing and collaborating with hardware and software providers will be critical in getting leads, which can lead to additional sales. Our research suggests that providers are willing to collaborate with us, since the market covering our first course is growing and competitive. Furthermore increasing the value of their product is viewed as critical in the current competitive climate of those markets. In all cases building trust is core to achieving marker insertion.
How did you raise funds for your business?
The entire project is funded through personal, friends and family contributions.
Looking back, what would you have done differently with 4Delta?
Plenty of things namely related to approaching and engaging with our market as well as committing funds prematurely. Taking small steps is essential as well as treating targets and situations based on facts rather than assumptions will save you a lot of money.
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
Expand our services to a global audience as well as diversify our business portfolio in complimentary sectors.
How has/did the University support you in developing and growing your business?
The University has been an important partner since through their free-office scheme it has helps us keep our operating cost low as well as allow us to operate in a professional environment. Elements essential for any starting business.
To find out more, visit: www.4delta.co.uk