finance

Glasgow educational tech firm secures £450,000 of funding



Glasgow-based educational technology company Estendio has secured £450,000 from key partners including Scottish Enterprise and a handful of other private investors.

The scale-up is on a mission to alleviate presentation anxiety, after founder and chief executive Chris Hughes, experienced the challenge of presenting first hand as a dyslexic student in university.

His team is ready to expand their reach to support more students with disabilities via the presentation support app, Present Pal.

The investment, in the form of a long-term convertible loan note, will support the company’s entry into the North American higher education and school markets.

It follows a period of rapid growth for Estendio, supporting an additional 3,000 new students across the UK this year alone.

The company was founded with an initial investment of £50,000 in 2015, before going on to turn profits over the last two financial years.

It has since seen revenue triple and the team expand from four to 17 members during the pandemic, in spite of a highly disrupted global education market.

As a result of the rapid expansion, Estendio will look to create 15 further roles in marketing, software development and sales within Scotland this year, doubling its headcount again to more than 30 employees.

Present Pal was launched in 2018 as a solution to the communication challenges and anxiety he was experiencing as a dyslexic university student.

Three years on, the accessible flashcard app is supporting more than 5,000 students with disabilities in around 100 colleges and universities across the UK.

Around 93% of university students need to present as part of their university course, however this disproportionately impacts the 300,000 UK students with disabilities.

Hughes explained: “I had to give presentations two or three times a week as part of my degree – I was getting so frustrated spending hours preparing every week only to forget key information during my presentation.

“After reaching out to my disability services, I was told this was a common challenge for disabled students and I was offered the chance to present directly to my lecturer or to skip the presentation altogether.

“After working so hard to get into university, skipping this key skill wasn’t an option for me, so I made a solution for myself.”

Chairman Owen O’Donnell commented: “This funding round is a major milestone for Estendio – Chris and the team have worked exceptionally hard to create an already profitable business in the UK and this investment will allow Estendio to deliver on its international ambitions, as well as reach more students within the UK education system.”

Jan Robertson, interim director of growth investments at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Estendio has the potential to be Scotland’s next big digital success story.

“By building on previous advisory and financial support with fresh investment, we are supporting the company’s ambitions to develop its products, create jobs, and expand internationally.”

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