Engrade began in 2003 by a senior high school student who wanted a better method to connect to teachers on homework, assessments, and messages. Through the years, user feedback and modern ideas have shaped Engrade in to a robust learning management system. Today, Engrade is a division of digital learning-focused CTB/McGraw-Hill helping educators, parents, and students through all stages of the learning cycle from curriculum likely to assessments.
In the week, Engrade position the finishing touches upon an emblematic story on earth of education startups. In 2003, senior high school student Bri Holt decided he’d heard enough griping from classmates (and teachers) over the lack of a simple, easy way to view their grades online. So, like any budding web developer, he chose to build so easy, sign up for his high school.
Whilst the product found numerous eager early customers among teachers and classmates, adoption wasn’t exactly explosive. So, since it goes, Holt soon graduated and progressed to many other pursuits. Meanwhile, left to the own devices, the gradebook slowly and deliberately continued to bring 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 return to developing the merchandise full-time. He chose to officially turn the gradebook in to a business and expand its functionality – what would later become Engrade .
Fast toward this week, and publishing giant McGraw-Hill Education decided to purchase Holt’s online gradebook – now more well known as myanet online – for what TechCrunch hears from sources was around $50 million. To education entrepreneurs, it’s an enviable outcome and a path (albeit perhaps not really a totally replicable one) worth emulation.
However, all in all, the process, from founding to sale, took over ten years. To some extent, it’s no surprise given that building and selling an education company (for virtually any real return) takes years, maybe even decades. Obviously, if you build a thing that solves a problem and this your customer really needs, adoption and customer acquisition can come. Because it relates to education: Teachers agdwlr simple tools which make their lives easier, and when you build one for them, and work along with them to improve it, they’ll become the perfect evangelists.
Ultimately, the acquisition seems 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.