Published Mar 17, 2022
At the end of 2021, EdPotential—a Wellington UniVentures spinout company—was acquired by Education Perfect, a curriculum aligned teaching and learning platform. Wellington UniVentures, together with researchers Dr Michael Johnston and Emeritus Professor Cedric Hall, and then Headmaster of Macleans College, Byron Bentley, co-founded EdPotential in 2016, aiming to improve student and school performance across Aotearoa New Zealand.
EdPotential stemmed from an idea that would allow teachers to use real-time data to better understand the impact of their teaching, and of particular interest at that time, why students were dropping out of school. Professor Cedric Hall worked closely with Byron Bentley to develop a tool which enabled teachers, administrators and principals to see the teaching history of students and analyse where they may need more support. With the initial system working well, the team looked to how they could expand this offering to other schools across Aotearoa.
Engaging with other learning institutions, a challenge they faced was transferring the school’s data to the software. Unlike Macleans College, which had collated the necessary data over several years, data from other schools wasn’t clean or in the appropriate format, and to get it to that point would have been incredibly expensive and time consuming. The team went back to the drawing board and hired a software developer to solve this issue, and they soon made it possible for schools to add their data in less than an hour. It was at this point in the development process that they realised this was a viable business opportunity.
The tool collects school-wide data, identifies gaps, and allows teachers to implement personal action plans for individual students. Teachers can review a student’s progress over several years.
“The EdPotential Platform is a great opportunity for schools to take responsibility for their own performance.” Dr Michael Johnston explained. “We always saw this as a strength and a way for schools to feel more empowered about the way they engage with students.”
The idea was progressing, and the team was able to hire CEO, Charlie Tomlinson and IT Technician, Donald Dingwall, which was a critical step in turning the idea into a product that was sophisticated and easy to use.
Since the very beginning, Wellington UniVentures helped to build partnerships with Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University’s Faculty of Education, as well as establishing connections with investors to fully establish the platform. The company secured investment from a tech incubator and subsequently from NZ Innovation Booster. By 2021 EdPotential products were being used by more than 100 schools across New Zealand and Australia.
Combining forces to align the EdTech market, Education Perfect announced the acquisition of EdPotential at the end of 2021. Education Perfect aims to consolidate content, tools and data analytics to support learning outcomes and help teachers as they redefine teaching and learning experiences. Education Perfect spans 15 countries from the Canada and Scotland through to Hong Kong, used by over 1 million students and 2,000 schools. As Education Perfect works to expand its offerings to its community of educators, the EdPotential technology is the perfect addition to the suite of products currently available on the Education Perfect platform.
Anne Barnett, CEO of Wellington UniVentures says: “This acquisition is a fantastic result for one of our long-standing portfolio companies. We know that these ventures take time to get right and there are often many unforeseen obstacles along the way, but to achieve this outcome in five years is a significant achievement for all involved.”