Reflections on 2023 from EdSmart CEO,
EdSmart will officially be ten years old next year – we registered the company on 21st May 2014. Back then, it was just two of us in our lounge room with an idea, mainly prompted by my move from a contract role with a San Francisco-based software company. Technically, I was unemployed, so this situation tends to ignite ‘creative thinking’ when you have three children and a household to fund!
Our first-ever sale came later that year. A school in Melbourne paid us $900 for a subscription, and we thought all our Christmases had come at once.
We won the inaugural StartUp Vic pitch night in August 2014. Our slides said we were thrilled to have sent 6,900 forms already. Today, that’s a few minutes’ worth of EdSmart – we’re on track to send more than 24 million forms to parents in 2023 alone! – so I wake up some days and wonder what on earth we’ve done!
Today, it’s my privilege to lead a team of more than 30 amazing humans. While our head office is in Melbourne, we have staff permanently based in Sydney, Adelaide, Hobart and Sri Lanka. We operate across multiple continents and time zones. We’re rolling out to every state school in South Australia and will shortly do the same for all state schools in Tasmania.
In total, we’re contracted to more than 1,200 school sites across Australia and the world, which is a testament to the remarkable work of every member of the EdSmart team.
We know delivering a terrific experience to hundreds of thousands of people who utilise or access EdSmart is a significant challenge. In 2024, we continued an ongoing program of code rebuilding and infrastructure adjustment to promote platform stability and reliability. Our commitment to data privacy and security remains an absolute priority, and we were recertified for our ISO27001 Information Security certification in August.
Inevitably, there are blips, and we know it’s not always smooth sailing. One of our battles is the high expectations we have these days for browser-based software. Behemoths like Atlassian, Google, Facebook and Microsoft have billions of dollars and tens of thousands of staff devoted to delivering exceptional experiences – it’s demanding for a few dozen people to achieve the same.
One quest for us in 2023 has been to increase our transparency as much as possible, communicating both the ‘good’ and ‘less than good’. This has occurred in several ways:
- We publish EdSmart Essentials, our monthly newsletter for EdSmart users, with tips, tricks, feature summaries and other information to support those who use EdSmart as part of their daily work life.
- We replicate EdSmart Essentials as a blog post every month, so those who may not be subscribed to the newsletter are still able to catch up on tips, tricks, feature summaries and other information.
- We launched EdSmart Executive, a quarterly newsletter sent to leaders in our schools and those passionate about the K-12 education sector.
- Our Status page is used to communicate issues that may affect a group of EdSmart users – you can subscribe to receive email alerts to keep you informed.
- We also publish our internal service level statistics in the EdSmart Executive newsletter (just scroll to the bottom), highlighting the performance of our support team in responding to requests for assistance.
Behind the scenes, we’ve restructured the teams, bringing our engineering, product and implementation/support staff into one integrated group under the leadership of our Director of Product and Engineering. Previously, we were a little siloed, but now we have one team devoted to building, supporting and implementing the EdSmart platform.
In October, we welcomed a new Chair of the Board of Directors of EdSmart, James Field, the Founder and former CEO of CompliSpace, an EdTech, SaaS B2B company. He is now the Principal of a boutique advisory and executive coaching firm that assists SaaS B2B companies to scale with purpose and confidence. His predecessor, Michael Brooks, was a steady hand at the helm for two years, and I relied heavily on his sage and balanced counsel. I’m thoroughly looking forward to working with James over the coming years.
As we head towards the quiet (er) time of the holiday season and end-of-year break, I’d like to thank everyone for all their support. We’ve come a long way from 2014 and head towards our second decade in business with optimism, excitement and anticipation.