O'clock: telepresence digital training for better professional [re]integration

"Hurry up! The class is about to start: I'm turning on my computer". That's how to sum up the telepresence that has been popularized by the school of the tech industry: O'clock.

Don't miss this Success Story devoted to O'clock, the first telepresence training school. Silvr spoke with Dario Spagnolo, CEO & co-founder of O'clock. He told us about how he wanted to revolutionize distance learning, how they manage - with their teams - to offer the best support to people looking to work in tech, and how O'clock can scale up by having its marketing campaigns funded by Silvr.

The establishment of O'clock

Introducing O'clock, and its president and co-founder: Dario Spagnolo. O'clock offers telepresence training that is accessible to all, and above all, from anywhere as long as there is a computer and a stable connection. Dario is a computer and digital enthusiast. He started as a web developer and defines himself as a former school dropout. All this played a role in the continuation of his adventure...

Around 2012, digital training was multiplying through many online schools and courses. However, these online training sessions were cold and lacked user-friendliness. So, in 2016, Dario embarked on the O'clock project to popularize his approach to distance learning in a full-time, live format "which didn't exist before".

First 100% online and 100% synchronous training courses

O'clock's training courses are unique in that they are 100% remote and 100% synchronous. They also apply the rules of classic face-to-face training with:

  • 1 trainer for a limited number of learners (25 learners max.);
  • Each course is also followed by a tutor (another specific aspect of O'clock);
  • Specific schedules to be respected;
  • Required attendance;
  • All in a virtual classroom.

This dynamic format ends at 3:00 p.m., and then gives way to practical work supervised by the tutor who supports and follows each learner. Group reviews and challenges are also exchanged to stimulate the learners. So, "we are proud at O'clock to bring this human component in spite of the digital aspect of relationships in training." Dario adds a motto that suits them well: "We are remote so we can have more presence."

A need to learn to gain employability

The training sessions are delivered on their internal virtual classroom solution. It was developed and designed with this new learning context in mind. The innovation of the school lies in the flexibility it allows, all in order to access certified training. Here you can see all the training courses offered by O'clock, including those in:

  • Web development (PHP or JavaScript);
  • Application designer-developer (alternating years);
  • React.js;
  • Symfony;
  • Data and API.

Beyond the educational vocation of the training courses, the school seeks to be [and succeeds in being] a vehicle for reintegration for the unemployed. This social ambition is reflected in their ESUS social utility company accreditation.

O'clock works hand in hand with local authorities so that they can offer subsidized places. Training can be paid for with your Personal Training Account (CPF) credits, or even via access to student loans. In order to facilitate financing, real care is taken by an admissions team dedicated to identifying the best accessible financing mechanisms with the learner. "It gives real added value to the company," says the O'clock CEO.

In total, over 4,000 learners have been trained since 2017. There is no typical profile. If they are on average around 30-35 years old, there are also first-time learners over 16 years old, "school dropouts" as it was, and this majority of employees in the midst of a career change. The positive completion rate is 70%, with a dropout rate of less than 3%. "This is a better rate than in traditional higher education."

Cost management for these electronic courses

Obviously, remote management allows for savings on materials (chairs, boards, etc.) These savings serve a purpose, a high level of supervision and quality of training. This is evidenced by their 4.8/5 rating on Trustpilot.

O'clock has 150 employees. Like their training courses, they all work from home. Among them, more than a dozen are assigned to the commercial function, which handles the learners' financing. Then there's the teaching team, the cornerstone of this project, which represents nearly 70% of the payroll, with 90 trainers and tutors. This payroll represents more than ¾ of the company's expenses.

Trained learners
Employees (all telecommuting)
Positive completion rate

O'clock - the cockpit for telepresence training
O'clock - the cockpit for telepresence training

The school scales up by financing its marketing campaigns with Silvr

O'clock raised €4 million in October 2021. That year, the training organization announced revenue of €7.4 M. Then, Dario discovered Silvr, but didn't think that Silvr's Revenue-Based Financing model was relevant to them. By talking to other company managers, he realized that it was possible and called on the European leader in this field.

The plan with Silvr is to consolidate the growth of O'clock, while increasing marketing expenses. Indeed, with growth reaching a certain stage, this kind of growth costs more. Hence the ambition to diversify its sources of financing. So Dario realized that Silvr "is a perfect fit for our needs. In addition, it did not dilute the company's capital further."

"Silvr is a perfect fit for our needs. In addition, it did not dilute the company's capital further"
Dario Spagnolo, CEO and co-founder of O'clock

Because training places can be subsidized and O'clock can be paid at the end of the training course by some organizations, working capital requirements (WCR) are high. This creates a strong tension in their business model. Moreover, with significant and continuous recruitment (on the training segment for which ¾ of the costs are linked to this payroll): the best solution for O'clock is to free up cash flow.

The executive was blown away by the speed with which he received a financing offer. Traditional financing processes take longer than Silvr's data-based approach, which predicts future revenues based on multiple data points. It's "the right recipe for funding our marketing costs, and, in effect, freeing up cash flow for other expenses."

The future of O'clock: be on time!

The training solution opens up its horizons with the arrival of training for:

  • Becoming a DevOps ;
  • Getting trained in cybersecurity;
  • And facilitating digital accessibility.

For all the reasons already mentioned, O'clock sees Silvr as a long-term partner. But the future is a matter of time: so follow in O'clock's footsteps and be on time to grow your business by funding your acquisition campaigns with Silvr.

Published on

March 24, 2023

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