Stillman School junior Ryan Skolnick is triple majoring in management, marketing and information technology management with a certificate in entrepreneurial studies. He is also the Founder and CEO of Aveho Learning, a fully immersive, photorealistic, language learning video game software company.
Skolnick credits the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Professor Susan Scherreik as deciding factors in his decision to attend Seton Hall.
"The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies was a huge contributing factor in my decision. At an admitted student night, I had met Professor Scherreik, and she invited me to watch the Pirate's Pitch competition. I was blown away and had to join," said Skolnick.
In Skolnick's freshman year, he would go on to win the Pirate's Pitch competition that inspired him to attend Seton Hall. Since then he has gone on to perform well in other competitions, including second place in New Jersey's UPitch competition, during its inaugural year, and a semi-finalist finish at Student Startup Madness, a national collegiate tournament focused on helping student entrepreneurs succeed, which culminates at South By Southwest (SXSW). More recently, Skolnick was honored with the Emerging Entrepreneur Award at the Seton Hall Entrepreneur Hall of Fame induction dinner, held on October 10, 2016.
Skolnick has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He started his first company, DogEats, at 10 years old. DogEats sold to every state in the country and raised $20,000 for a dog rescue charity.
The idea for his current company, Aveho, came about during Skolnick's senior year of high school. He decided to focus in the language learning space since he had grown up learning multiple languages: Spanish in kindergarten, French in lower school, followed by six years of Latin and four years of Chinese. While researching the field, Skolnick came across a frightening statistic; 96% of second language learners fail to master the language. With just a four percent success rate, Skolnick knew he could come up with a solution; full immersion within a video game. Skolnick credits photorealistic graphics, "like you are in Spain learning Spanish," as a key to his company's differentiation in the market place. The company hopes the user will carry the language learning with them, as the name, Aveho, comes from Latin to mean "I carry."
"Currently, no one on the market is attempting full immersion in a photorealistic video game. Our competitors are not engaging their students within the language, and they do not have a good enough retention rate. Our product, on the other hand, is based off the idea that people are already fully immersed within games. We're just layering the language on top, allowing for the student to enjoy the process and learn the language naturally," said Skolnick.
Aveho is now in the seed round of funding and development. Skolnick and his team have been completing initial customer validation of the product with schools and have been working with the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages to ensure their product will be a success. Once developed, the language learning software will be obtainable to students for use in the classroom, at home or on the go.
Skolnick notes, "So far, everyone loves the concept and cannot wait to see a demo."
As for the future, Skolnick plans to enter additional competitions to hone his ideas and pitch and to assist in the funding of Aveho.
Skolnick expressed his gratitude to Susan Scherreik and the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies for mentoring and providing opportunities to grown his company while at Seton Hall. When asked if he will pursue Aveho full-time after graduation, Skolnick said, "Without a doubt. Aveho is my greatest accomplishment so far, and I cannot wait to launch and expand the company."
For more information on the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, please click here.
To find additional information on Aveho Learning, please click here.