Entrepreneurship looks glamorous. The rewards and fulfillment of creating a successful enterprise often attract many people, but what we often overlook are the efforts and hard work that go into becoming successful at it. Entrepreneurship is fraught with challenges, rejections, and failures and the life of every successful entrepreneur tells a story of courage and resilience. An entrepreneur who exemplifies this dedication is Maxim Glagolev.
Glagolev started Geeklama, an online coding school that makes quality live coding lessons available to all kids – regardless of where they live. Geeklama builds content, products, and educational technologies to support coding lessons, including in tier-2 cities and countries.
Glagolev is a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. From Russia, he has several international degrees in Engineering and Business Economics and obtained a postgraduate degree in International Leadership from Maxwell.
With three other founders, Glagolev started Geeklama to prepare the next generation for the future. In a tech-driven world where coding powers everything, the ability to code has become a must-have skill. According to Glagolev, no one is too young to learn how to code. Geeklama started in January by teaching students in-person but later adopted online classes. This model supports the company’s growth as the world manages the COVID-19 crisis.
Glagolev credits his entrepreneurial experience in the US for his knowledge on how to start a company. “Startup culture is much more developed in the US – it’s the motherland of great companies.” Glagolev became involved in the Blackstone LaunchPad and Techstars while studying at Syracuse University. He participated in the LaunchPad’s Startup Weekend and gained insights into entrepreneurial practices in the US. “Environments such as the LaunchPad are crucial in creating a continuing innovative culture and inspiring future innovators.” The LaunchPad then later helped connect him with US experts in specialized areas such as incorporation and finance as Geeklama launched in this country.
In starting Geeklama, Glagolev found that user research was one of the most important keys to success. “Our main difficulty was that we didn’t have strong insights into kids’ education. We had to go through test marketing”. After extensive market research and a dedication to creating a user-friendly product, Geeklama has become a fast-growing company. They currently teach coding classes in the United States and Ghana and plan to expand to other countries in the future.
Glagolev’s interest in entrepreneurship is motivated by his desire to make a difference. “It gives me room to do a lot of different things and live for someone other than myself. A challenging environment is a good thing for growth.” Glagolev’s lifelong pursuit of innovation speaks to his commitment to entrepreneurship despite its difficulties. Although filled with constant adjustments to user needs, agility in responding to arising challenges, and continuous market research, entrepreneurship is a path that Glagolev agrees is worthwhile and rewarding.
Proven by the brilliant companies and products created by people like Glagolev, the LaunchPad agrees wholeheartedly.
Story by Claire Howard, ’23, LaunchPad Global Fellow, photo supplied by Maxim Glagolev