Young software creators' Youtorial is named ‘Most Deserving Business'

Austin Cooley, a University of Florida computer engineering grad, poses next to his company's logo Thursday. Youtorial was among 13 education-tech companies to win a $35,000 grant and mentoring by the Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City for their hands-on video software education program.

Doug Finger/ Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 8:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 11:19 p.m.

A small group of Gainesville tech whizzes in their early 20s has launched a computer video tutorial system with hopes that it becomes the standard format for learning how to use any software.


For more information

Visit Youtorial's website.

CEO Austin Cooley, 24, along with Shane Mooney and Rich Winslow at Youtorial have created a video player that allows students to follow along as an expert instructor guides them step-by-step through a hands-on project to learn how to use the software.

The tutorial appears in a window in the corner of the screen and pauses as the user completes the last task on the software.

Cooley said it eliminates the problem of having to resize windows and pause videos, while the hands-on project leads to better retention than reading a document or watching a video.

"My goal has always been to be the Adobe Reader of software tutorials," Cooley said. "When you go to the help menu, you go to Youtorial instead of a step-by-step document."

The company will have lots of help trying to get there. Youtorial is one of 13 out of 650 education technology companies that applied to be selected for the Kauffman Foundation's Labs Education Ventures. The Kansas City-based entrepreneurial foundation will provide $35,000, networking, mentoring and education tailored to each company's needs for six months starting in February.

On Thursday night, Youtorial was announced during the University of Florida Bergstrom Center Real Estate Forum as the winner of AMJ Inc. of Gainesville's Most Deserving Business contest with free office space for a year.

"The viability of his company long term was the best of the whole bunch," said Beau Beery, AMJ's vice president of commercial real estate. "We're doing our part to try to create more jobs."

Cooley said the company has had a lot of expert help along the way, including from UF graduate Bryan Scott, who has worked with several startups in Silicon Valley, Josh Greenberg of GrooveShark, UF entrepreneur-in-residence David Whitney, and Bill Dorman and Dug Jones at the Santa Fe College Center for Innovation and Economic Development incubator, where Youtorial currently has an office and video studio.

Cooley came up with the video player idea in 2008 as a senior computer engineering major at UF after the frustrating process of learning the software for Google's application engine.

The company launched the first video in its Youtorial Market in December, a course on creating a cartoon using Adobe Flash.

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