We’re proud to lead the Series B round for Edrolo, a company we have been privileged to know for a long time now.
In fact, when we first invested in Edrolo back in 2013, we weren’t in the business of publishing our investment notes. So today we wanted to share a bit about what first attracted us to Edrolo, the journey we’ve been on together since, and why we are big believers in the opportunity the team has ahead.
Founded by Ben Sze, Jeremy Cox and Duncan Anderson, Edrolo started life producing curriculum-specific tutorial videos for final year high school studies.
In 2013, Edrolo joined the Startmate Accelerator and Startmate became its first investor. In fact, Edrolo were the first team with non-technical founders that Startmate invested in - this was a big moment for Startmate as it was known then for turning “nerds into CEOs”. Blackbird co-invested at this time through our very first fund.
We were impressed with the leaps and bounds Ben, Jeremy and Duncan had made through the Startmate Accelerator, and later in 2013, Blackbird led Edrolo’s seed round.
Edrolo was Blackbird’s fourth investment from the 2012LP and the fund had just been raised off the back of an information memorandum that outlined a strategy to invest in global from day one businesses with product founders.
Edrolo was neither.
But investing is about the exceptions and there are no more truer words to describe Ben, Jeremy and Duncan than as exceptional founders. They had left their jobs at Google and Goldman Sachs with the mission of helping spread the wisdom of our very best teachers.
Our love affair with Edrolo deepened as we participated in every round the business raised, and as the team’s aspirations grew.
If the early Edrolo product could be compared to a very tailored version of the Khan Academy, carefully matched to the final year curriculum of Victoria and NSW high schools, it had growing ambitions to achieve that for the entire world.
Edrolo’s mission is simple; to improve education. Over the past almost-decade, they have broken down the curriculum into its atomic parts to create content and resources that offer a wholesale upgrade to the traditional textbook industry’s approach.
Most educational technology has focused around the periphery of learning - after school practice, homework or exam prep. Edrolo forms the backbone of learning and has earned the right to be the core resource for teachers and students throughout each school day.
Edrolo is a high growth, high quality business:
Edrolo started with video, but the business inflection point came when they expanded the tools they offer to schools to encompass print textbooks and Edrolo Standard, a product combining interactive video theory, formative assessment, exam practice and rich data for teachers. Teachers are able to see where students get stuck and have through Edrolo the content and activities to make sure students progress and learn. The average price for Edrolo’s products for a school consequently blossomed and in 2021, hundreds of thousands of students watched over 71 million online videos and over 106 million pieces of content through Edrolo.
What attracted us to Edrolo on day one still holds true thousands of days later.
At Blackbird, we look for founders doing their life’s work. Ben, Jeremy and Duncan are on a mission to become the bedrock resource for education for the world, and their team has a chance of meaningfully helping every human on earth by improving our collective education standards. Even if they fulfil this mission in Australia alone it will impact millions of lives.
With its mission to improve education, Edrolo has grown from a sales-led company to a product-led one. In the coming years, Australia has a real chance at improving in the global PISA rankings because of the impact of Edrolo’s products and the way it partners with schools to support every student.
We feel lucky to have borne witness to Edrolo’s journey so far, and we are proud to partner with them on the journey ahead. Congratulations to the team on this latest milestone!