It's another day and another deal for the NZ tech sector's hot M&A scene.
Dunedin-based Education Perfect has bought Christchurch-based EdPotential for $4 million.
Although a modest deal, it has potential to expand the reach of both.
EdPotential chief executive Charlie Tomlinson says the genesis of his five-year-old company was at Macleans College in Auckland. The school, which offers both NCEA and Cambridge International assessment, was looking for a tool to crunch its exam data, the better to identify any strengths, weaknesses or gaps for each student.
After work with a software developer went nowhere, the school partnered with Victoria University to create what would become the EdPotential platform.
The startup was spun out by Victoria in 2016. The varsity's commercialisation arm owned a majority of shares ahead of the Education Perfect buyout.
The pandemic has seen boom times for New Zealand's ed-tech sector.
Education Perfect, which offers online courses to supplement the regular curriculum, plus tools for teachers - had a majority of its shares snapped up this year by US private equity giant KKR in a deal that valued the Dunedin firm at $445m.
Last month, Kami - which has achieved global success during the outbreak as its document-sharing tool for teachers and students has boosted its revenue to around $50m - gave all 53 of its staff a $10,000 bonus to thank them for their hard work, and celebrate topping the Deloitte Fast 50 list of NZ's fastest-growing companies this year.
And virtual classroom startup Learncoach has raised millions.
Tomlinson told the Herald that Covid had been a mixed bag for his company.
Some schools had cut their budgets but others used the outbreak as an impetus to adopt more of EdPotential's tools.
Under the new ownership, Tomlinson saw EdPotential first concentrating on expanding in New Zealand and Australia, then moving on to overseas markets.
EdPotential has been designed to work with a wide variety of assessments, including NCEA, Cambridge and International Baccalaureate (IB) as well as common classroom assessment software and school management systems. The broad-ranging approach will continue under Education Perfect, Tomlinson says.
While there are many business intelligence (BI) tools out there for mining a mountain of data to discover trends, Tomlinson said EdPotential was the only one specifically designed for schools - and with a focus on user-friendliness in what can be a complex field.
EdPotential was developed in consultation with teachers around Australia and NZ, and not only enables early identification of students who are struggling, but gives schools confidence that the programmes they offer are providing the right learning opportunities for all their students, Tomlinson said.
His firm achieved B-Corp certification for its focus on environmental and social good.
Tomlinson says it was not looking for a deal but, after talks on partnering, Education Perfect pitched the buyout.