"It's our future, let's build it together"

5 Questions with Brian Rahill

November 4, 2021

Brian Rahill,
Co-Founder and CEO, CourseStorm

1. What types of educational programs and institutions does CourseStorm support?

CourseStorm supports registrations for all types of lifelong learning from kids through adults. This includes summer camps and after-school programs, adult education, arts classes, professional certifications, and job (re)training programs. We are currently serving more than 600 customers across the US and have a particular focus on Arts & Culture and Community Education. Collectively these types of organizations educate over 20 million students annually.

2. What features can educational institutions find to assist in marketing classes to remote learners?

CourseStorm’s mission is to streamline access to education so that we can empower people on their personal growth. Since streamlining access is central to our mission, we are always looking for ways that educational organizations can more easily reach and smoothly enroll students. Our innovative marketing features include automated, personalized email recommendations to students based on their previous educational interests. We’ve also created automated tools to help organizations fill open seats, reduce cancellations and identify students who are interested but never completed their registration. We know these organizations are incredibly busy so we’ve worked to automate marketing best practices so they can expand their reach and enroll more students without any extra effort.

3. How did your experience founding RainStorm inform your launch of CourseStorm?

Founding RainStorm Consulting really helped me get a leg up with launching CourseStorm. I already was aware of how the software development process worked, understood how to provide excellent technical support, and how to attract early customers. My co-founder Matt James and I were also skilled with basic business management including budgeting, tracking key business health data, and projecting. RainStorm was also serving educational organizations so our target market is very similar. All this has certainly helped us to accelerate our journey. However, on the flip slide, the two companies are substantially different. RainStorm was a successful, slower growth, services firm, whereas CourseStorm is a product-based company with aggressive growth goals. This growth brings new learnings and constant challenges every day, but it’s part of what keeps me motivated to get up and keep pushing. Overcoming challenges and the constant forward momentum can be summed up in one word that I frequently use as a signoff on my emails: Onward!

4. What resources, partners, and companies have been helpful to CourseStorm as it has continued to grow? 

I believe we’ve used nearly ALL of the different entrepreneurial resources in the state of Maine to help us launch and grow CourseStorm. This includes resources for funding, such as MTI and the Maine Venture Fund, Bangor Angels, MaineAngels, DECD, and FAME. We also heavily benefited from the educational content and mentoring networks of the UMaine Innovation Engineering Center, the UpStart Center, ScratchPad, and TopGun. I’ve also been very fortunate to have many giving mentors throughout my time as an entrepreneur and have found the business people in Maine to be very giving of their time and assistance. The opportunity to easily connect with mentors is unique to Maine and a significant advantage to growing a business here. Lastly, I am part of a great group of peer CEOs who meet monthly to share insights, challenges and offer support. I’m always inspired by this group!

5. What are your plans for growth within the next few years? 

CourseStorm is on a mission to connect more than three million students to education by 2025. Our goal represents not only growth for our company, but also incredible personal growth that we will have facilitated in the 3 million learners we serve. 

Did I mention we are hiring? We have an incredible team and hitting this target will require us to recruit the next CourseStormers to join us. We have several open positions and will be posting more each month as we continue on this path. We are looking for empathetic, growth-oriented problem solvers who love to create simplicity out of complexity. Together, we can do hard things.


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Last modified: November 4, 2021

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