Extracurricular Management System for schools, Clipboard is continuing the trend of ed-tech start-ups defying the funding squeeze, raising $3.1m in funding, with specialist SaaS venture capital investor EVP taking the lead alongside Jelix Ventures and Sprint Ventures
The Company grew more than 200% last financial year despite COVID and is being used by over one hundred schools in Australia and South-East Asia following its launch in late 2017.
Clipboard was initially developed by Ed Colyer (27) and Sam Clarke (24) in 2017 while at university and coaching basketball at their old alma-mater high school in Sydney. They experienced the challenges that staff and parents face administering extracurricular programs with manual systems which were ultimately limiting the quality and extent of communication, organisation and participation.
Realising this was an issue for all schools, Ed and Sam recruited co-founder Christiaan Hind and developed Clipboard, an intuitive and mobile-friendly platform that empowers schools to deliver high-quality extracurricular programs by providing a single platform to manage all activities. Clipboard helps its schools to improve child safety, drive attendance, track and enrol students in activities, save hours on administration, and streamline communication with students, parents and staff; ultimately, driving higher standards for all participants.
After their own school first trialled Clipboard and made the decision to licence the software, the founders knew they had found a solution to a ubiquitous problem and they set their sights on pioneering a new category in EdTech - the “EMS” (Extracurricular Management System).
“We were a young team in the unique position of both knowing the challenges facing students and families, as well as working as basketball coaches. That experience provided us with the insights we needed to improve extracurricular delivery for students, parents and schools. It is simply impossible to have an exceptional experience for hundreds or thousands of participants when you’re using paper forms and Google Sheets ” said co-founder and Head of Product, Ed Colyer.
“We set out to develop a tailored solution, one that was simple to use, adaptable and user-friendly. What we were offering resonated with schools and parents. Until recently we had no sales team at all and our entire business was built off the referrals from customers that loved our product.”
Today, more than 100 schools have adopted Clipboard across all Australian states and SE Asia, including Pymble Ladies’ College, Geelong Grammar School, Matthew Flinders Anglican College, Covenant Christian School, and Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School.
While the Company is now fielding enquiries from schools overseas, its primary focus is to use the latest funds raised for the development of new functionality and new business development hires to assist with driving local adoption of the platform.
EVP Partner, Daniel Szekely has joined the Clipboard Board following the investment:
“Most of us can probably remember turning up to a field trip with an envelope full of cash and a couple of paper forms only to be told you forgot one of the forms. Educational organisations have always been laggards when it comes to adopting new technologies but in the case of Clipboard, the self-evident demand for efficiency and safety by parents and students is driving rapid adoption. Clipboard ultimately drives up the quality of extracurricular programs and enrolments in a virtuous cycle that leads to revenue for schools and higher quality activities for students”
“We love that this is a business by students and teachers for students and teachers. The founders aren’t coming in as consultants to make a quick buck, they truly appreciate the pain points and are on a mission to improve extracurricular delivery. With the capital raised, the business is now attracting top-tier talent from much larger edtech businesses and we are excited by its growth plans locally and offshore” Daniel said.
Jelix Partner and Clipboard Board member Alon Greenspan said: “We're glad to back Clipboard again after our first investment in 2020. Covid had a direct impact on extracurricular school activities and Clipboard has weathered the Covid storm incredibly well. Ed, Sam and Chris grew by 4x despite 100s of days of COVID lockdown in primary markets. We're excited about the next growth phase and the raise will enable Clipboard to invest in product-driven growth initiatives and expand into international schools.”
Sprint’s Managing Partner Llew Jury said: “Clipboard offers a tremendous opportunity for educational institutions to streamline their extracurricular activities and importantly helps them implement internal cloud based innovation in a low cost and fast way. Clipboard matches Sprint’s purpose of building a better future through being the technology platform for extracurricular increased physical, social and mental health activities that importantly provides students and parents.”