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This article was published 21/3/2018 (1357 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg education technology company Permission Click is about to seriously hit the books.
The five-year-old company has just closed a multimillion-dollar round of investment including strategic partners from overseas and is now hammering out a distribution agreement with them to make Permission Click’s student permissions and internal workflows solutions available to school districts in an as-yet-undisclosed overseas market.
"We are very excited about all of this," company co-founder and CEO Chris Johnson said.
The latest development comes after the 15-person company successfully launched its online permission slip service to K-12 schools, signing up thousands of individual schools in 30 countries and offering service in 110 languages.
But when full-fledged marketing was in place, Johnson said the company quickly realized that rather than provide a solution to individual schools, they needed to address the school district as a whole.
"We spent more than six months developing on the new district edition product. We bet the farm on it," he said. "It is nice when those things work out."
He said with one salesperson quietly pushing the school district edition of Permission Click’s solution, the company racked up more than $1 million in sales in less than six months.
"School systems are facing widespread budget reductions and we are seeing a big spike in district leaders focused on ways to do more with less," Johnson said. "With Permission Click, schools can not only find massive efficiencies by going digital, but for the first time, they have a tool to implement more comprehensive risk-management practices that are critical to managing child safety and containing costs in today’s increasingly litigious environment."
The company is now in the process of hiring at least a dozen more people.
"We have validated the product and we know it will sell in Texas and Manitoba and all over," Johnson said.
Two years ago, the company raised close to $2 million, including from Altona’s Friesens Corp., whose school yearbook sales force provided a strategic entry for Permission Click’s offering.
The company was just starting to organize another round of financing for its district edition market push when its new investment partners found it.
"They came from halfway ’round the world, saw our system, met our team and did a deep due diligence. They visited us in the middle of the blinding cold winter and still cut a cheque," Johnson said.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.