Engrade was founded in 2003 by way of 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 revolutionary 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 likely to assessments.
This week, Engrade place the finishing touches on an emblematic story on the planet of education startups. In 2003, high school student Bri Holt decided he’d heard enough griping from classmates (and teachers) over lacking a fast, great way to view their grades online. So, like any budding web developer, he decided to build that simple, engradewv login for his high school.
Whilst the product found several eager early customers among teachers and classmates, adoption wasn’t exactly explosive. So, as it goes, Holt soon graduated and advanced to other pursuits. Meanwhile, left to its own devices, the gradebook slowly and deliberately continued to attract 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 return to developing the item full time. He chose to officially turn the gradebook right into a business and expand its functionality – what can later become Engrade .
Fast toward this week, and publishing giant McGraw-Hill Education consented to purchase Holt’s online gradebook – now more well known as engrade – for what TechCrunch hears from sources was around $50 million. To education entrepreneurs, it’s an enviable outcome as well as a path (albeit perhaps not really a totally replicable one) worth emulation.
However, overall, the process, from founding to sale, took over 10 years. Partly, it’s unsurprising considering that building and selling an education company (for any real return) takes years, maybe even decades. Of course, should you build something that solves a problem and that your customer really needs, adoption and customer acquisition should come. As it applies to education: Teachers agdwlr simple tools that will make their lives easier, and if you build one for them, and work with them to enhance it, they’ll become the perfect 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, amongst others.