Descomplica, the start-up that is revolutionizing education in Brazil


Descomplica is like a preparatory class online, giving students tests to help them prepare for college entrance exams.

Descomplica also has a 15,000-strong video library and live-streams online courses to over eight million students eight hours a day, seven days a week! Today, a student spends an average of eighty minutes on the Descomplica site per visit and logs in every three days or so. Therefore, the start-up has some incredibly loyal users! More than 78% outperform college entrance exams. And all this for the modest sum of $3/month, a hundred times less than a typical exam prep course in the country!

As the best universities in Brazil are free, there is rigorous selection based on entrance exams. A whole business sector has sprung up around exam prep classes, a business that obviously benefits the wealthiest in society. At the moment, prep classes are almost exclusively reserved for the elites and only available in major cities. The founder of Descomplica, Marco Fishben, used to be a physics teacher for one of those prep courses, which can cost between $500 and $1,000/month. Compare those figures with the average income in Brazil, which is $250/month…


With this new boost in funds, Descomplica plans to invest massively in content production and bringing the service to as many students as possible. Each month Descomplica produces 1,000 additional videos, all the while seeking to mix enjoyment and education. « Part of this fundraising is to start to understand how we can push the limits of what we consider gaming, entertainment, media and education. Not to make a bridge between them, but to mix them all up, » Marco says. Digital media, content that is different and more fun than traditional courses, these are probably the ingredients contributing to the start-up’s success. And above all, a credible alternative to the burden of tuition fees weighing down on students, a truly global challenge!

In the United States today the accumulated student loan debt tops the astronomical sum of $1 trillion! A large part of the debt lies with for-profit institutions, which account for 11% of American students but 44% of the total debt. For these institutions, the tuition fees paid by students are their primary source of income. And Descomplica states loud and clear that their start-up is also for-profit and so intends to revolutionize the Brazilian education system. « We are for-profit and that’s good, because it means we have managed to construct a business model that is healthy for our investors and is extremely affordable for our users, » Marco claims. « But we don’t want to put anyone in debt. »

When will similar large-scale development initiatives be launched in other countries?


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