Meet A #sydswedu 2014 Mentor – Vicky Lay

Last time we spoke to Matt Burley from Global Mindset. Today we introduce our first female mentor for Sydney Startup Weekend EDU 2014 – Vicky Lay from Zookal.

Here’s our conversation with Vicky about Zookal and the future of education. Plus a bonus video interview with Vicky and Chris from earlier this year. Read on…

Vicky LayVicky, please introduce yourself to our audience?

I am a young female entrepreneur who is passionate about business and finding creative ways to solve complex problems.

What is your area of expertise?

My expertise lies in Operations, Startups, Sales and Marketing, Strategy, ERP, Team Building and Collaboration.

What motivated you to start Zookal?

I have always been passionate about education and the needs of students. During my own degree, I experienced the common problems faced by university students first hand – from expensive course materials to finding effective study solutions and joining the workforce. We wanted to build a one-stop student platform so we started with the biggest pain point we could think of and introduced affordable textbook rental to the Australian market.There are global tectonic shifts happening in education and the student experience around the world and I was motivated by what Zookal (and start-ups as whole) represented – change, innovation and disruption. As Eric Schmidt (Former CEO of Google) famously said: “If you’re offered a seat on rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You just get on.”

What are your expectations from the SWEDU event?

I am excited as always to be a part of events like SWEDU which I think act as a catalyst for experiential learning and are a breeding ground for budding entrepreneurs. I am expecting a heap of fun and collaboration and am particularly looking forward to hearing the innovative solutions that will spring from those closest to the most pressing problems within education.

What do you think schools/colleges would look like in 5 years?

I get asked this a lot. Although I’m not going to pretend to be in the business of forecasting, I think that the proliferation of technology will continue to open the flood gates to blending learning approaches in our schools and colleges. Also, I have begun to see an organic, bottom-up demand for those institutions which effectively marry content consumption with practical industry experience.

What are the trends/challenges that you see for education in the future?

Blended learning approaches
Wearable technologies
Simulated learning environments
Recreating the “study experience” within e-textbooks which compared to e-books have had subpar growth

What are some ways to keep updated about Edtech news/events in Sydney?

– ShoeString Media –
– The Next Web –
– The Scan – (less startup related, more tertiary sector related news)
– Joining edtech meetup groups and participating in events e.g. Sydedutech –


Also checkout our Youtube interview with Vicky and Chris from earlier this year.

About #sydswedu 2014
When: 27th June 2014 – 29th June 2014
Where: Muru-D Campus, 363 Oxford St., Paddington, NSW Australia.
Event Website:
Tickets: Please purchase your tickets at the Eventbrite page

About Atul Pandey

Atul has always been passionate about Edutech and founded the Sydney Educational Technology community in Feb 2012 while looking for like minded people interested in EduTech. Atul is the founder of, a provider of digital English language learning products, that empowers non-native English speakers around the world on their customized path to English fluency as per their specific learning needs.