Francisco Salles

  • Current company CERS
  • Location Brazil
  • Industry Education

CERS is the newest “garage startup” story and Brazil’s leading course prep provider. Every year Brazilians take rigorous pre-professional exams, but the price tag and limited supply of offline courses inhibits many of them from accessing high-quality test prep. CERS addresses these prohibitive conditions by providing massive online open courses taught by the most renowned teachers in Brazil.

Founder Renato Saraiva was born to an underprivileged family in Rio, and from a young age was determined to change his circumstances. He studied hard and became a public defender in 2001.Motivated by the opportunity to help others pass their exams; Renato began writing textbooks and teaching lessons in prep schools during his free time. He was an extremely popular teacher, but felt underpaid.

To solve this problem, Renato retreated to his garage to film his lessons. He posted them online and charged for access. He soon converted his garage into a studio in which other teachers could film their lessons. In need of a partner, Renato invited his friend Francisco Salles, a serial entrepreneur in the field of legal education, to be his business partner and CFO.

CERS offers online exam prep courses taught by Brazil’s top teachers. To attract these teachers to its platform, CERS developed a revenue-sharing model in which teachers obtain 30-50% of the net income generated by the courses they teach.
CERS represents an important entrepreneurial success story for Brazil by providing an iconic narrative of how a company can grow from humble beginnings.

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