Glasgow-based edtech startup Estendio is on a mission to alleviate the pesky problem of ‘presentation anxiety’ and empower more students to find their voice and confidence.
Founded in 2015 after founder Chris Hughes experienced the challenge of presenting as a dyslexic university student, the company was launched with an initial investment of £50,000.
This week, the firm announced it has secured an investment of £450,000 to help more students across the country.
The investment, Estendio revealed, will enable the company to extend its reach to more students with disabilities through its presentation support app, Present Pal.
Notably, the funding boost follows a period of rapid growth for the Glasgow-based firm, which has expanded its support to more than 3000 new students in the last year.
Estendio has turned profits over the last two financial years, has seen company revenue triple and the team expand from four to 17 staff members despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am hugely proud to secure this funding. The drive and determination of my board and leadership team over the last year has been monumental in what has been a hugely successful year,” Hughes said.
“I am incredibly grateful to Scottish Enterprise and our consortium of private investors for the opportunity to continue on to the next chapter of the journey,” he added.
Estendio’s flagship product, Present Pal, was officially launched in 2018 as a solution to the communication challenges and anxiety Hughes experienced as a dyslexic student.
Research shows that 93% of university students need to present as part of their university course. However, this disproportionately impacts the 300,000 UK students with disabilities, with 86% admitting that they struggle with presenting.
“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,” Hughes said.
“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.”
The Present Pal App provides users with a set of interactive flashcards which gives them a new, improved and more accessible way to create presentation notes.
Three years on, the app supports more than 5000 students with disabilities in over 100 colleges and universities across the UK – helping to increase their confidence and overcome their communication challenges.
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The latest funding boost will support rapid expansion at home and Estendio’s entry into the North American higher education and school markets.
According to Estendio chairman Owen O’Donnell, the latter of these plans will further establish the company’s position as an industry leader in helping to drive accessibility in education.
“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,” he said.
As part of upcoming expansion plans, Estendio will also look to create 15 further roles in marketing, software development and sales within Scotland this year, doubling its headcount again to over 30 employees.