Simplifying data for schools and developers

Founders Peter Dabrowa, Philip Clifton, Jon Coleman
Sector Primary and secondary education
Website wonde.com
Location Newmarket, UK
Impact An integration partner for 85% of all UK schools

February–August 2016: 1,000+ schools and 24 apps signed up after soft launch

September 2016: Pre-seed investment from Emerge Education

End of 2016: Seed round of £1.6m led by Richmond Group

January 2017: Official launch

Summer 2017: 45% of UK schools signed up

2018: Launch of single sign-on and app marketplace

What is it?

Available in 85% of all UK schools, Wonde is a data integration platform for education providers and edtech companies. Wonde allows schools to share the data developers need for their applications quickly and securely, leaving them in control of when and how sensitive information is used. Developers save up to 40% of engineering time on creating and maintaining school intergrations.

Why we invested

The problem

To deliver on their promise, edtech products need access to extremely sensitive information on an ongoing basis. As school management systems proliferate, developers struggle to maintain numerous integrations and schools lose track of who is accessing data and why.

The solution

Wonde provides a single point of integration for edtech vendors and gives schools a simple interface to control who has access to their data. It works with most school management systems, radically simplifying the roll out of new technologies in schools and saving developers, administrators, and teachers valuable time.

The founders

Peter Dabrowa’s previous venture was an edtech product with 2,000 paying school customers, giving him and co-founder and development lead Philip Clifton an intimate understanding of the pain points on both sides. Jon Coleman’s experience as a former deputy headteacher rounded out the team.

Peter’s story

Peter met his co-founders at e-schools, which provided schools with a suite of digital tools like an attendance roster, learning management system, and a system for communicating with parents. He came to see the onboarding of new clients as one of the biggest barrier to edtech adoption, as each school integration required extensive manual work. At the start of the Emerge programme, Wonde’s soft launch had landed them 4,000 schools in the UK and a little over 20 apps as clients.

During the programme, we asked ourselves how to make the most of our traction to date. Previously we were going in the direction of revenue over growth. Emerge and the venture partners helped steer us towards taking advantage of the initial traction and dramatically increasing our school numbers… revenue would follow! It was great advice and made total sense.

Wonde’s focus on how to achieve scale quickly set the direction for their programme goals: refining the product through feedback from schools and edtech developers, putting in place a growth strategy and a team to execute it, and preparing to raise funding to fuel expansion. 2.5 months later, Wonde were onboarding 200 schools a week and putting on the ground a sales team they recruited through the Emerge network.

After Emerge and a successful seed round, we restructured our sales team and put in place improved processes. The team changed in ways we couldn’t believe… our pipeline shot up from 50 edtech applications to 500 in a few weeks! The team helped put our name of the map and before we knew it almost every edtech application in the UK had heard of us.

What’s next?

Emerge Education helped Wonde secure £1.6m in a seed funding round led by the Richmond Group.

After an official launch at Bett 2017, it took Wonde six months to get agreements as an integration partner with 85% of all schools in the UK. They returned in 2018 as Bett’s official integration partner.

Wonde are on track to be in virtually every UK school, with great potential for international growth. With weekly additions to its catalogue of integrations, Wonde are rolling out an emoji-based single sign-on system and a marketplace for schools to discover and install new apps seamlessly.

Sign up for market insights, advice, and updates from the Emerge community