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The Success Story of Mike Silagadze and His Top Hat

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Top Hat a successful learning software that encourages both, teachers and students to learn and work together. Top Hat has been adapted and used in many schools and teaching environments. Success was not built overnight but it was created back in 2009. Mike Silagadze and Mohsen Shahini created top hat in a small apartment while they were still studying in the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. Top Hat offers students an interactive learning experience. Such things include giving students interactive polls as a fun way to determine if they understand a particular subject. Top Hat also helps teachers organize their students with providing a program to automate and take attendance on its own. This will help and show the educators who is being absent, which makes it harder for students to skip class as everything is monitored. Students can take tests and view textbooks online that are free of charge and, auto update if any newer version were to come out. According to Owler, Top Hat’s estimated annual revenues is $8. 9M. Since Top Hat was founded in 2009, it has participated in 6 rounds of funding. In total, Top Hat has raised $50. 6M from 10 investors. In 2017, after raising $22. 5M, Top Hat debuted a fresh look for the company and move into a new head office in downtown Toronto.

Mike Silagadze studied Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Science. He has been the Chief Executive Officer of Top Hat Monocle since 2009, and is also the Co-Founder of the company. He’s an active speaker and lecturer in the higher educational communities and has done many lectures for the community such as Rotman Commerce Entrepreneurship Organizations, Tech Fest Toronto, TEDx-Laurier University, and many more. Top Hat is his only business background that he has, and is very successful.

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Mike Silagadze experienced many difficulties when he was in university with boring and ineffective lectures, expensive and outdated textbooks and a lack of innovation in the classroom. This resulted in him not attending some of his classes at that time. Mike noticed an error in the teaching process. With the ascending advancements in technology over the years with smartphones and mobile interconnectedness, it lead Mike to take his idea of reinventing and modernizing the way professors teach and the way students participated in the classroom through their available technologies. He did this by transforming the traditional method of teaching into a more active and engaging experience. Mike’s personal experience along with the previous graduation rate in North America being under fifty percent, he knew something had to change. In 2009 Mike partnered with Mohsen Shahini and they founded their own educational software company, TopHat.

As many other startups Top Hat also encountered some challenges at the start. The founders Mark Silagadze and Mohsen Shahini struggled a lot in the initial stage in securing funds, hiring employees, sales and convincing universities to adopt the technology campus-wide. Finance: They started with initial investment of $15, 000 on two maxed-out lines of credit. They were almost a week away from running out of cash when two investors from Waterloo rescued them by investing in their company. Hiring Employees, the beginning they struggled to hire employees as they were short of funds. And without any financial support. Secondly sales, they were struggling to sale the technology in universities and other educational institutions. As the software was new and it universities were taking hell lot of time take possession of it which was in turn making their sales difficult.

Top Hat cofunders Mike Silagadze and Mohsen Shahini secured their funding by partaking in my funding rounds. Top Hat is a company that has many local Canadian investors as well as international investors such as Union Square Ventures with an investment of approximately $22. 5 million and Georgian Partners with an investment of $10 million. The rounds of investing began in 2010 with a seed round of $300 thousand and goes on through Series A-C with the investors named previously. With Top Hat’s investors and their outstanding engineering skills, Top Hat continues to make a name for themselves in the educational software industry.

The story of Mike Silagadze has told us that the market of technology has now become an important part to study, the application of Top hat has become more and more popular. Students will now learn things faster, and will also actively follow the lesson. I learned that if I want to become a successor in the Business area, I should not only know how to make money but I must have the ability to think innovatively, to have creativity, and try something different. Today there are lots of student using their laptop to read books, seeking knowledge, the system of Top hat advances the traditional learning mechanisms which made them the leader of online studies.

There are lots of things I can learn from Mike, but the most useful point I think, is to always ask and understand your consumer’s needs. Also knowing what the market and what the age really needs is of importance. Mr. Mike is an example, he knew that today lots of students prefer to use the internet seeing that it is the age of information, computers are a easily accessible convince in our lives.

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