Do you know a few phrases in Korean or Japanese, or find yourself being able to understand common phrases in another language? Ever wonder how that happened when you never actually studied that language?
Chances are that you’re not alone and that you love to watch foreign shows once in a while. I mean, just look at how K-dramas have dominated the entertainment landscape for the last few years.
So, when we saw the Filmdoo was taking advantage of this effective and incidental education method, we had to find out more. So we spoke to Weerada Sucharitkul, a Thai entrepreneur based in the UK, about her startup and why she decided to focus on language learning.
She practices what she preaches and actually speaks Thai, English, French and Japanese and is currently learning a few more. Her penchant for languages was most likely started as a child, as she was a child of diplomat and has lived in 11 countries across 5 continents.
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Filmdoo was also part of the 500 Startups Global Launch Singapore accelerator programme and is expanding their presence in Singapore and the Southeast Asian region with a partnership with the Singapore Education Network.
When you can’t find Weerada in her office (or virtual office in this case), she is discovering new foreign films and trying out new and exotic food.
Sell us your company/service in 300 words?
FilmDoo is an edutainment platform that makes learning easy and fun through films and videos. Starting out as a movie streaming platform, FilmDoo now has one of the world’s largest international film catalogues. In 2019, FilmDoo saw the opportunity to expand into online learning and edtech when over 80% of their traffic was coming from language-related searches and over 70% of users in a survey said that the number 1 reason they are watching a film on FilmDoo is they are learning a foreign language. Consequently, FilmDoo went on to develop FilmDoo Academy – their edtech platform that can turn any film and video into an interactive lesson in just a few minutes.
Today, FilmDoo is the world’s first edutainment platform to combine language learning with an extensive and powerful international film catalogue. FilmDoo is able to supply both the films and the education technologies to schools and teachers to help them create engaging and effective gamified teaching materials from film and videos. Specifically for language learning, FilmDoo is also able to help supply a large catalogue of films in key languages such as English, French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese curated by language level and themes.
Interestingly, FilmDoo has also started to expand beyond language learning into Corporate Training, especially Diversity & Inclusion training where they have been getting some interesting traction in the UK with major banks RBS and NatWest. FilmDoo will be able to both supply both films and create dedicated D&I lessons for the corporates to help improve on the impact and engagement of current diversity training programs.
Ultimately, FilmDoo is the future of learning. The company is helping with an increasingly growing industry-wide problem of low student engagement, accelerated by students spending more time online than ever before as a result of the pandemic. With the average Gen Z student now spends at least fours per day watching online content, traditional teaching methods now struggle to keep these students engaged – however, the modern students now respond well to film- and video-based learning, which is at the heart of FilmDoo.
Currently, FilmDoo is part of 500 Startups Global Launch Singapore accelerator program to help go-to-market in Singapore and use the city-state as a base to expand in SEA.
For the month of August, FilmDoo has recently teamed up with Singapore Education Network to provide one winning Southeast Asian school exclusive access to their Teacher Pro Package for the rest of the year. Click for more information on our Southeast Asian School Competition.
What is stopping you from having the largest company in the world?
I don’t believe anything can stop anyone from doing anything – including having the largest company in the world. However, that also relies on a lot of persistence, resilience, sacrifice, luck, and on many occasions, other people to give you a break or the opportunity. But if they don’t, you just have to pack your bags and move on, and try again until you achieve what you set out to do.
I remember, when I was 9 years old, living in Kuala Lumpur at the time, my father had a very rich and successful friend who was a Chinese real estate tycoon. On an evening out together (on his yacht!), I asked him how I could become as successful as he was when I grew up. I still remember to this day what he said next: “Never be jealous of anyone else’s success because you don’t know what they had to sacrifice to get there.” Today, building my business thousands of miles away from my closest family, I finally understand what he meant.
Finally, I do want to add that there is one area that everyone can do more of that will help them in the future – that is, to grow their network. I’ve learnt that “your network is your net worth”. It might not be today, tomorrow, or even a few years down the line, but growing your network means that you will be able to expand your opportunities and also be able to reach out to more people who may be in a position to help you.
If you could change one thing about the tech industry in Southeast Asia, what would it be?
I would love to see more female representation and more female founders and female CEO’s in the Southeast Asian tech industry. Most importantly, I want to see more funding going to female founders – not just mixed co-founding teams, but companies that are being led and built by female CEOs, who historically, have received a much smaller piece of the funding pie. Only when there is an equal proportion of female founders receiving significant venture funding can we truly see a fair and equitable ecosystem whereby multi-billion industries are built to serve the other 50% of the global market.
Name one person in the region, who is making a difference in Technology?
I would very much love for the opportunity to meet Ankiti Bose, the Singapore-based Indian entrepreneur who has built Zilingo, one of the most well-known ecommerce platforms which focuses B2B services. I love that she recognised a gap in the market when she was on holiday in Bangkok and noticed that many of the small and medium sized shops had no online presence, and went on to utilise technology to help bridge this gap. Like Ankiti, FilmDoo uses technology to help independent and international filmmakers distribute their films to a global audience through a more efficient platform, including developing and finding new audiences to further monetize their content to, such as targeting language schools and teachers who can turn the films into powerful and valuable educational games and lessons.
Five questions with Paul Endacott from GRIT
What would you want people to remember you for, 100 years from now?
100 years from now, I would like to be known as the person who connected the world by helping to bridge cultural and language divides.
In doing so, I was able to play my part in helping to bring more sustainability to the independent film industry so that more hardworking, talented filmmakers can earn a fair living from turning their stories into great films, and filmmakers from countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and many more, who historically have faced more difficulties in getting wider distribution for their films, would be able to find more opportunities to commercialize and get their films seen by a global audience. In turn, our edutainment platform gives access to millions of people around the world to a new form of engaging, high quality education that transforms learning outcomes.
And finally, I hope that one day, I will be able to produce my own mega epic film and series that will be shot over all six continents in multiple languages – an Asian twist on Harry Potter that brings historical drama, reincarnation and modern day coming-of-age altogether!