The French have a poor grasp of English. This is not Carmina Catana, the founder of the online English school HiPeKids Who says so in Nice in 2018, but the studies carried out on the subject. 85% of French people do not have the required B2 level at the end of Terminale. A similar level to “advanced” understanding of language.
An English mother, a French father, Carmina Catena holds a bachelor’s degree in applied linguistics and knows the importance of the English language in today’s society. “Between the ages of three and six, you can acquire a mother tongue background.”she insists.
This means that with a teacher with a native English accent, we can learn like our parents’ language. “Only, with thirty students per class and varying appetites and motivations, The founder of HiPeKids explains, Learning a language properly is difficult. Especially since it takes a communicative and ungrammatical approach. With native pronunciation teachers. It is essential and often absent in France.” He then came up with the idea of creating a school to teach English in a different way. In 2017, he became close to a friend, Mehdi Benrahalet, and in 2018, they opened their site from Nice with 25,000 euros, their goodwill and their address book: Carmina Katena taught English for twenty years and was a consultant at the University of Cambridge. .
Online English lessons for 3-18 year olds. Taking into account all levels and above all, all neurotypes. “That’s really our strength: the hyper-personalization of our learning formulas. We know how to do that with highly gifted kids, dyslexia, autistic disorder. We have qualified teachers that are tailored to each child.”
HiPeKids also caters to adults who need to pass the TOEFL or TOEIC, and foreigners who need to learn the language before accepting a position in Australia, the UK or elsewhere. But the customer’s heart remains children with 4, 8 or 12 lessons per month and monthly formulas per family.
In 2018, the startup started with twenty clients and three teachers. Today, it has more than 5,000 customers throughout the year. “This means about 500 families every month, 60% of whom have entrusted at least two children to us.” To keep the machine running, 60 teachers now collaborate with a team of ten employees. “We plan to hire 60 more people by the end of the year to meet demand.”
Target Spain and Italy
Respond to demand and absorb the projects of Carmina Catena above all! In Nails, a new site, completely revamped and a mobile app within two months. “From 2024, we are opening the base to Spain, and in 2025, to Italy. In these two countries, the training location [payer des cours supplémentaires, ndlr] Twice the size of France, it’s our test market.” Pass the exam!
For now, it is time to recruit new teachers. Checked by the boss, then Collett, director of research. Hundreds of CVs arrive every month. how much Yes! HiPekids’ reputation precedes it: teachers retain great freedom in the teaching they deliver after in-house training, and participate in the life of the structure. They can animate blogs, propose collaborative projects… all in the service of their students’ progress.
A new investor?
Until last year, HiPeKids did not need bank loans to grow. But because the development is coming fast, Bpifrance, Entreprendre Network and the village of CA Provence Côte d’Azur are supported. “We are well supported and look to the future with peace, Boss smiles. Since we founded HiPeKids, the turnover has doubled every year and today reaches 400,000 euros, with a target of 1 million in the next financial year. It should be noted that an investor contacted them to further increase the momentum. Continued negotiations.
A great anniversary for a team committed to teaching English differently to every child. “We believe our method will change something, leaving the human at the center.”
Yes she can.