Engrade was founded in 2003 with a high school student who wanted an improved method to connect with teachers on homework, assessments, and messages. Through the years, user feedback and innovative ideas have shaped Engrade into 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 intending to assessments.
This week, Engrade put the finishing touches with an emblematic story in the world of education startups. In 2003, high school student Bri Holt decided he’d heard enough griping from classmates (and teachers) over the absence of a quick, great way to view their grades online. So, like any budding web developer, he chose to build that easy, engrade wv for his senior high school.
Whilst the product found a number of eager early customers among teachers and classmates, adoption wasn’t exactly explosive. So, as it goes, Holt soon graduated and advanced to many other pursuits. Meanwhile, left to the own devices, the gradebook slowly and deliberately continued to draw in frustrated teachers looking for the best 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 right into a business and expand its functionality – what would later become Engrade .
Fast toward this week, and publishing giant McGraw-Hill Education agreed to purchase Holt’s online gradebook – now also known as www.engradewv.com – for the purpose TechCrunch hears from sources was around $50 million. To education entrepreneurs, it’s an enviable outcome as well as a path (albeit perhaps not just a totally replicable one) worth emulation.
However, all in all, the process, from founding to sale, took over 10 years. In part, it’s unsurprising considering that building and selling an education company (for just about any real return) takes years, maybe even decades. Obviously, if you build something that solves an issue and that your customer really needs, adoption and customer acquisition will come. As it relates to education: Teachers agdwlr simple tools that will make their lives easier, and in case you build one to them, and work together to enhance it, they’ll become your evangelists.
Ultimately, the acquisition is apparently a more-than-positive outcome for Engrade’s founders, its team along with 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, among others.