Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Unfiltered – disrupting business education

Unfiltered is a rapidly-growing New Zealand startup focused exclusively on business education. Today I joined its board as chairman. Business education is a sweet spot for me, principally because I believe traditional business schools have not kept pace with the way millennials think and act. No more corporate treadmill for them, they want to be at it straightaway. Entrepreneurs straight out of high school. Learning by doing. Learning from mentors. Dreams into action.

Such is the story of Jake Millar, 21, who co-founded Unfiltered – his second company - with school friend Yuuki Ogino. Unfiltered’s website features more than 110 long-form interviews with entrepreneurs and business leaders, and has aggregated 1.8 million video views since it was formed 17 months ago. Its paid subscription website has successfully attracted 150,000 individual and corporate users, and an enviable list of sponsors that include PwC, Bell Gully, NZTE and the University of Auckland Business School.

Unfiltered has built a reputation for securing interviews with business masterminds following what Jake describes as a “high-trust, strong-relationships model.” Jake’s long-form interview techniques delve into the marrow of business and the challenges, failures, difficulties – and triumphs – each person has faced. Taken as a body of work, the Unfiltered interviews offer up a spectrum of daring ideas, humility and scar tissue, inspiration, and simple ways through the clutter of complexity every business operator faces.

I’ve been teaching, guest lecturing and generally disrupting at business schools all over the world for the past 20 years, and in the time I have with students I attempt to be as impactful as anything else they will experience during their degree programs. And so it is with Unfiltered. The world's mobile and desktop screens are hungry for content which is compelling, uplifting, fascinating, optimistic – and quick. Unfiltered offers the ability to scale this disruption right across the business education landscape.

Joining me on the board is Icebreaker and former Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe. Today’s announcement reveals the governance that will drive Unfiltered’s expansion strategy to the United States to replicate its New Zealand-proven model. The company has just closed a NZ$1.2 million seed funding round.