Nice to be recognised in Sifted’s one to watch in European Edtech (it's backed by the Financial Times).
Obviously interesting to note their assumed value for us and it got me thinking about our investment journey and how the company focus is shifting.
Firstly - We’ve had much higher and lower valuations, but the only time To ever believe it is when it’s the amount an investor has agreed to pay on a deal sheet (and that’s one you’re being asked to sign, not being teased with)
Secondly - We’ve turned down a lot more money than we’ve taken because you can very easily find yourself working for your investors and sacrifice what you believe in to prioritise their returns - let’s call that trap A.
Third - It also varies massively from country to country. I don’t mean varies like changes in degrees of weather, I mean literally winter In Antarctica (UK valuations) and summer in the Sahara (China valuations) that’s the difference.
I’ll never forget being sat opposite an investor there In China, mid-level, saying ‘and next year we’ll be 5m revenue’ and his face turned from friendly to disgusted and he barked ‘what the hell are we going to do with that!?!’ - that’s par for the course. Because of China’s size, they expect mega bucks.
There’s also Trap B, that’s when you’re in an industry or niche or have a product that will NEVER hyper-scale And yet you raise it as if it will.
See, there’s scaling a product and hyper-scaling and my likeness there is aiming to have a football-related career VS making it in the first team of a top 6 Premiere league football club.
The prior is achievable with hard work, the right team and gratitude, but the latter, is rare, and though this pains me, it isn’t something I feel will come from a school focussed product.
Rightly or wrongly (and falling Ed Tech valuations attest to this) school customers aren’t an Avenue for hyper-scaling. If you get it right, it’s sticky, like seriously Spider-Man on glass level sticky, but if you’re going to do something at a world level - you need hyper-scale.
So even though we cracked something special in school education (and that’s not going anywhere) our moves are into assisting education through AI and video, not education processes, that’s where our future lies.
It’s Simpler to explain, simpler to sell and as scalable and fast spreading, as the bloody Corona variant.
And I guess, though I hate my title, (CEO - baaaarffff) that’s what I’m supposed to do to get us to here: have the ideas, raise and plot where we have to be headed to match company and personal goals.
It’s a hell of a ride and I hope some of the above was of use to people starting out or mulling an offer, or just interested in this landscape.
And like I always say: ‘I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m saying it’s worth it…’ though now I add ‘…beware the territory that comes with your dreams’