Engrade was founded in 2003 with a senior high school student who wanted a better way to connect with teachers on homework, assessments, and messages. Through the years, user feedback and ground breaking ideas have shaped Engrade in to a robust learning management system. Today, Engrade is a division of digital learning-focused CTB/McGraw-Hill and helps educators, parents, and students through all stages of the learning cycle from curriculum planning to assessments.
This week, Engrade put the finishing touches on an emblematic story on the planet of education startups. In 2003, secondary school student Bri Holt decided he’d heard enough griping from classmates (and teachers) over lacking a quick, great way to view their grades online. So, like any budding web developer, he made a decision to build that easy, login to engradewv for his secondary school.
As the product found a number of eager early customers among teachers and classmates, adoption wasn’t exactly explosive. So, since it goes, Holt soon graduated and progressed to other pursuits. Meanwhile, left to the own devices, the gradebook slowly and deliberately continued to draw in frustrated teachers looking for an online grading solution. So, thinks kept snowballing.
By 2010, nearly seven years later, its user base had grown sizable enough that Holt felt justified to go back to developing the merchandise full-time. He decided to officially turn the gradebook in to a business and expand its functionality – what would later become Engrade .
Fast toward in the week, and publishing giant McGraw-Hill Education agreed to purchase Holt’s online gradebook – now better known as engrade wv – for which TechCrunch hears from sources was around $50 million. To education entrepreneurs, it’s an enviable outcome and a path (albeit perhaps not a totally replicable one) worth emulation.
However, in general, the procedure, from founding to sale, took over a decade. Partly, it’s no surprise considering the fact that building and selling an education company (for any real return) takes years, maybe even decades. Needless to say, in the event you build a thing that solves an issue and this your customer really needs, adoption and customer acquisition can come. Since it relates to education: Teachers agdwlr simple tools which make their lives easier, and when you build one on their behalf, and work with them to improve it, they’ll become your evangelists.
Ultimately, the acquisition appears to be a more-than-positive outcome for Engrade’s founders, its team as well as its investors. The company had raised about $8 million total over two rounds, including from NewSchools Ventures, Zac Zeitlin, Expansion Venture Capital, Kapor Capital, Javelin Venture Partners, Rethink Education and Samsung Ventures, and others.