Mathletics: Idea to Exit

Mathletics: Idea to Exit

In this conversation from the Melbourne EdTech Summit 2020, David Linke of EduGrowth interviews Founder and CEO of Inquisitive, Tim Power, about his entrepreneurial journey in founding 3P, as well as lessons learned in establishing and growing Mathletics and the World Education Games.

David Linke, Managing Director of EduGrowth, interviews Tim Power, the CEO and Founder of Inquisitive, about his entrepreneurial journey in developing 3P, as well as lessons learned in establishing and growing Mathletics and the World Education Games.

This far-reaching conversation touches on topics of particular interest to startups in locating and making hard decisions, conducting product research, developing your product to an audience, and how best to expand locally and internationally. Tim Power’s decades of experience in the EdTech space underlies a wealth of knowledge, useful to new and veteran entrepreneurs.

The highlights of their conversation, as well as a full transcript, follows below:

The early years of 3P Learning and Mathletics

In 2004, Tim’s team pinpointed a need to make maths more fun, and looked at technology as a way to accomplish that. The result was products that became 3P Learning and Mathletics. In those early days, Tim and his team learned some valuable lessons that would factor into the success of future EdTech products:

  • Focus on finding an unaddressed problem or niche in education. There will be no competition in that space and you will create a net positive for the world.
  • Understanding the problem comes before developing the tech. Priorities are key.
  • Listen to educators, students, and administrators. They are honest and can give very practical ideas and feedback.
  • Accept iteration as a part of the process. The initial product will be poor, but iterative development improves its quality.
“Find a problem that no one else is solving, and solve it really well, and find great people to come on the journey with you to solve that problem that care about it like you care about it.”
Tim Power, Inquisitive
EduGrowth Cross Border Partnerships to Drive Outcomes - Warwick Freeland featured image

Developing a product

Choosing the right product to develop and then growing it and adjusting it based on feedback are some of the most important aspects of building a great EdTech. Tim gives some advice:

  • Anticipate the direction of tech. In 2004 streaming was a non-existent technology, but 3P and Mathletics built into it from an early stage and were able to ride its tailwinds when the technology achieved widespread adoption.
  • Work backwards in development. If the student is the target, start there and then work into teachers, parents, and administrators to develop a product that works for all parties.
  • Use surveys liberally, but construct them carefully. The right survey, bringing in the right research answers, can lead you to the correct software solution to produce.
“Teachers are good at giving you bad news. ‘That’s a bad thing.’ ‘That’s really badly conceived. Have another go.’”
Tim Power, Inquisitive

Principles and modes of operation

Apart from researching the field, selecting the right niche, and developing your product, there are intangible attributes that will contribute significantly to the success of your EdTech. Tim shares a few of those from his experience: 

  • Courage of conviction is vital in helping you to make correct decisions for your company. After initial success, outside parties will bring offers to the table. It is important to not cave on your convictions.
  • Establish two advisory boards: one filled with educators for product design, and one filled with industry experts to counsel product-market fit, ability to scale, and marketing and sales strategies.
  • The Rockefeller principle, popularised by Vern Harnish, states that you should distill your company’s activities down into five, or even three, targets. Focus on those and cut out the noise.
  • If you spread your energy and focus out too thin, to too many targets, you will end up doing many things modestly well, but nothing particularly well.
  • Spread your energy and focus to a small number of targets and you can do those exceptionally well. Distinguish your business in this way.
“Nobody wants to be doing too many things and doing them a bit badly. Everyone wants to do a great job. […] Focus on the problem at hand and narrow the focus into doing those things and doing them really, really well.”
Tim Power, Inquisitive
EduGrowth Cross Border Partnerships to Drive Outcomes - Ravneet Pawha speaking

Key Advice

Before leaving, Tim discusses a few of the key items that have helped to make 3P, Mathletics, and Inquisitive successful endeavors:

  • Keep no skeletons in the closet. If there is an issue, address it head on. Problems swept to the side don’t go away. They grow if unaddressed.
  • Always have a few things up your sleeve for a rainy day. This includes ideas and capital. Keep both available for when opportunities arise.
  • The future of EdTech will be very well funded. Companies showing innovation and promise will have the capital to expand and build large, influential products. Aim high.

Tim’s outlook on the future of EdTech, both in Australia and abroad, is very positive. He predicts rapid expansion of his own business, Inquisitive, as well as others throughout the world. He encourages EdTech entrepreneurs to hold onto their vision and their conviction, not to sell early, and not to cave to disadvantageous opportunities. Tim believes that Australia, with its young and innovative force of entrepreneurs, has the ability to lead the world in the EdTech industry.

Full Transcript

Catherine:

Our next session is a keynote session, and David Linke will be joining us again, as moderator. Also with the session is Tim Power, one of Australia’s truly leading EdTech entrepreneurs. So our keynote session is Mathletics: Idea to Exit.

David:

Thanks very much for being with us, team. We’ve got things back up and running, I think. We’ve got a video that you actually shot, which does a little bit of an intro from the 3P days. I’m just going to run that.

Tim is undoubtedly one of Australia’s leading EdTech entrepreneurs on the basis of co-founding 3P Learning, the makers of Mathletics, alone. We can make that claim, but allow me to add in click-through demos, world math day, world education games, and the story becomes even stronger. But there’s even more. We have to also add Luminosity, Style Education, Reading Active Equation, which makes it certain that I can go and claim that. Tim is one of the integral components of the Australian EdTech ecosystem.

Do you want to, now that we’ve run that video, just give us a little introduction to that video, and why it came about, and how you use that?

Tim:

We started an event called World Math Day, which grew into the World Education Games and had about six million students competing, and that video was the wrap of that particular event, which was played at the opera house. At that event at the opera house, we would fly in all the champions of each of the age categories from under six all the way through to under 18 for World Maths Day, World Literacy Day, and World Science Day. We’d have all the world champions from all around the world.

All their parents, government officials in such an emotional event at the opera house. That was rapid. That year’s event, and you could see all the kids participating. You could see the Math Blacks there from New Zealand. You can see all the world leaders getting involved. I think that year we had kids queuing up outside Apple stores all around the world. So it’s a pretty amazing event, and that’s really what Mathletics was about, uniting the world in learning. It started with that theme, so that’s where it came about. I thought it’s a really good way to encapsulate the reach that Mathletics had around the world, and it really showcases that.

David:

Let’s begin by spending a few minutes talking about the really early stages of the 3P journey, the idea and the concept, and what was the problem you were solving?

Tim:

At the time it was actually two in 2004. There was a new Maths deal that’s being implemented in New South Wales and, at the time, we had the world’s best Maths curriculum. It was renowned for that. It was really high quality. It was created, fundamentally, by two brilliant Maths teachers, and we wanted to produce something that made Maths fun. A friend of mine from university, Shane Hill, really smart, helpful person, had been working away on some really interesting ideas for that new syllabus, and doing some class starters, and a bunch of things, and basically Matthew Sandlin who’s the person backing me and Shayna Blake in education, he was really the money behind it. He put Shane, myself, and his sister, Katie Piper, helped set it up. We wanted to make Maths fun, and it was as simple as that. It took us many years to really understand what we were trying to achieve, and I think as you know, David, we started as a CD-rom business. It was Visual Basic on Excel.

David:

What year was this?

Tim:

2004. That first year it was a pretty dreadful product, but it had some really clever features to it, and it was almost a promise of a good product. We had that really challenging thing where we’ve got some sales from it, so did we keep trying to develop it and make more sales to then invest in something new? Or do we throw it out and just go to a fully web-based product? Shane was the one really driving that decision, and he was absolutely right. We needed to throw it out, and just take a deep breath. One of the great things about that time was the collaboration. As you know, the year before I started Clickview with Evan Clark, and it was Evan Clark who, on his own volition, on a weekend, came up with this idea of kids gaming against each other, and built a little black-and-white version of it. He came in on Monday morning and showed it to me, and then we got Shane, Javier Woodhouse, myself, and we started playing this game. We went, “Wow, this is hot.” and it’s just simple arithmetic, and four competitive people trying to beat each other. We went, “This is something really significant.”

Shane then, with another great engineer, Kai Cheng, who works with me now at Inquisitive, built that first Mathletics game engine. It was beautiful. Suddenly kids were wanting to compete with each other online, and it really took off from there.

David:

So with 2004 you’d see they’re wrong, you build a webpage version roughly when?

Tim:

So that was in early 2005. Through the course of that year. It’s actually in 2005 that it really started to become something. We first pulled up in April, and then in June we held an event called the 10 million challenge, and we had 30 000 students take part, and that may not sound a lot in this day and age, but at the time we’re like, “Wow. Where are these kids coming from?”, and the next thing teachers ask us about is, “Do you have activities and curriculum?” and we said we don’t, but it’s coming. So we started working on it.

David:

Let’s go back one step for a second. We know 3P. We know Clickview. You just mentioned it. I threw in their style, and I threw in their Reading Eggs, and I threw in their demos, and there’s this.

Tim:

I’m not a co-owner of those businesses. I’ve been fortunate to be involved in those other businesses, and the common thread is there are incredibly talented and dedicated people who focus on a problem and solve it really, really well. I think with the young team at Style, they’ve just focused so deeply on science and where they’re going is incredible. I admire that team so much. Reading Eggs and the team of Blake and Katy Pike is the product inspiration. So much experience and so many beautiful aspects to that resource and others, many others. But what they’ve conceived in their graphing calculator is absolutely magnificent, and that’s now flowing into a beautiful curriculum. So they’re all solving very specific problems and doing it really well, and not spreading themselves too thin, I guess.

David:

That’s the question I want to ask, why education for you? Why are you wanting to solve these problems in education?

Tim:

Well firstly because I was gifted an amazing education. Education in Australia is strong.  But we are well respected around the world, highly respected, and have a great tradition. It’s no coincidence that a lot of great EdTechs come out of Australia. I’m deeply passionate about it just because I was given that incredible opportunity. It’s a gift if you keep that love of learning, which was the absolute mantra at 3P. That’s a shield of resilience for life. It’ll allow you to adapt and evolve, and so how can you not get involved in something like that?

David:

Let me ask you a simple question because we have a lot of people, a lot of EdTech entrepreneurs, in this session this afternoon. Here’s a simple question for you. An easy one to begin with. What are the key factors in your mind for EdTech success? What are the key attributes that you need to build as a founder or a co-founding team to begin that little ramp?

Tim:

Find a problem that no one else is solving, and solve it really well, and find great people to come on the journey with you to solve that problem that care about it like you care about it. It’s really no simpler than that. It takes 10 years to solve a problem, a good problem, a decently big problem that needs solving. I think where companies get stuck in EdTech, if they see another product and they go, “I can do a bit of that better.” or “I can do…” rather than finding a problem and then coming out with a solution. More often than not, if you’re picking a problem that no one else is solving then it’s free space. You’re not going head-to-head with others, and you’re additive to the world rather than just adding more competitive products into the same landscape.

David:

In this journey of solving a problem, at what point are you starting to think about the tech to solve the problem? Or are you talking about the innovation around education first? Which one is more important in your mind?

Tim:

I think understanding the problem, first and foremost, because you’re going to prototype something to solve it. You’re going to rebuild it. You’re going to throw something up to solve it, and knock it down, and have another go. Think of Mathletics. We had a go at solving a problem and came up with something way better once we understood the problem a little bit better. If I think of my journey with Clickview in 2003, when we started Clickview, for example, iTunes didn’t exist. There was no Netflix. The concept of streaming was such an early, massive thing, so quite often we’d have to explain the problem to schools that they’ve got these banks and VHS tapes, and if they’re a really innovative school, they might have some DVDs to explain. They didn’t need all that equipment. They could just stream it to the computers around the school, and it’s amazing once you know how much you can take customers on a journey, because those customers went with us, even though it wasn’t such a big deal at the time.

David:

And I’m also really interested in this problem definition phase, and building out the first solution or even wherever in the journey, to be honest with you.

Where do you think you want to start bringing teachers into this conversation to help ideate and help solve the solution for the problems?

Tim:

You’ve got to start there. You’ve got to start in the classroom, watching what’s going on. Talk to as many teachers as you can and really understand the problem in-depth. You’ll get really good first hand information. Then you’ve obviously got to look at the macro data and other things that feed into that. So if teachers are your target, you’ve got to start with the user and work backwards to the product, I think, always. you’re going to iterate. If you’re focusing on students, you might start with the student and work backwards to the teacher, and then to the school, and work outwards. But I think research is key. I think I talked about talking to teachers. Surveying is a big part of the equation. I love surveys. I love finding out what people think, quantitatively. A good survey takes a deal of work to think about, how it’s crafted, what goes into it, and that’s why I think the latest thing I’m working on, David, with Inquisitive… You know we spent six months sitting in classrooms, watching what was going on, observing, thinking for a long time. It sounds like a long time, but time passes by far since you’re imagining and understanding the landscape, and getting the deepest understanding you possibly can.

David:

I actually agree with you 100 percent. I think that there’s an incredible characteristic of teachers, and I talk about this a lot with people who are new to EdTech, and that is that teachers want to tell you how you can improve. So if you go and engage in this activity, then you’ll hear lots of things about how you can improve your product, how you can improve the delivery of it, how you can bring this support. So use that natural characteristic to help drive that conversation. There’s absolutely no doubt about it.

Tim:

Teachers are good at giving you bad news. “That’s a bad thing.” “That’s really badly conceived. Have another go.” But tell that in a much better way than I would.

David:

We can’t talk about all of a great upside, and there’s absolutely great upside in the 3P story, and we can conclude in 20 minutes or half an hour, and talk a little bit about 3P again. But let’s talk just a little bit about, “What are the things that you would have done, given time to do it again with the great ability to look backwards now? What would you do differently? What are the things that you started and went, ‘oh, wait a sec. Let’s do this. Let’s do that?’”

Tim:

I think one of the biggest mistakes we made was in October 2007. We were just starting to make some progress. A company called Voyager, who went on to be renamed Edmonton, developed a pretty big contract in front of us to take Mathletics to the US with a whole bunch of requirements. But it was millions, and at the time, that seemed a lot to us. But in order to fulfill the contract we would have to fork the code base, and they wanted to brand it. It’s called V-Math, and we were seduced. They winded and grinded us. They convinced us this was a good thing to do, and we regretted that so much for such a long time, because once you fork a code base there’s no going back. They will inevitably diverge. You have to build things twice. There’s a brand you didn’t love because Mathletics is a beautiful brand. And V-Math is not a terrible brand, but it didn’t have the same calling power. In hindsight, we needed to have more courage of conviction to say no to the deal, or to say, “If you really want to do this with us, you have to take our platform, our brand, and our way of doing it, and truly partner with us.” It was only by 2013 that we finally got those rights back from Voyager to then really start going at the US.

David:

One of the questions that it raises in my mind is about the decision to do that partnership as opposed to going direct, yourself. Where did that come into the equation?

Tim:

We were already operating in the UK by then, and New Zealand, and Hong Kong. So we’re a tiny little company trying to push globally as fast as we can, and there was concern that we might stretch ourselves too thin. I think the biggest reason we did it was a lot of people saying, “Oh, America’s a bridge too far. It’s a graveyard for Australian companies.” There’s a real lack of confidence from a lot of people not inside the company and not at a broad level, but just quasi-advisors fighting around the company said, “Don’t do that. Find a partner.” and we did. We agonised over the decision, but we just needed more courage in our conviction. We knew what we were doing. We just needed to keep building it, and keep holding the core of it within that business.

David:

This is a really interesting point. I know we didn’t sort of pre-pre-talk about this, and feel free to pat it back if we don’t want to go there. But one of the things that we noted in the 2019 EdTech census, when we spoke to EdTech entrepreneurs, is really a sort of a gap around the advice that they receive, and how they go about getting that advice. I’m wondering whether or not that may be part of that equation there, as well. You’ve had quasi advisors that advise you not to look at the US market. How would you, in an ideal world, set up that advisory process in an early stage business? And then, maybe as it matures, as well.

Tim:

It probably leads on to the strategy, David. It’s part of this discussion today. I’m a big believer in the importance of that, and I can talk a bit about how he set that up at 3P. I think I have improved upon it since that time, too, but one of the things is advisory boards. I would have advisory boards, both on the education side for your product, and for what you’re trying to achieve. That’s teachers and principals. And I’d have an advisory board which has a range of skill sets that is going to back you in feeding that. The biggest and highest ambition that you can have.

David:

You’re saying you would have an advisory board around the governance and strategy, and then an advisory board around the product and academic component?

Tim:

Yeah, because it’s good, particularly things like product-market fit, ability to scale something through other territories, and those sorts of things. I think they’re really challenging questions and, yeah, I think splitting those two is good because those functions are so completely different.

David:

Can you spend a second talking to me about your specific strategic program and framework that you use? Do you want to just give me a bit of an idea of that, and we’ll share that with the group?

Tim:

At 3P, we started using a version of the Rockefeller, or it’s more famously popularied by Vern Harnish. In one of his recent books he writes about his scaling up, and essentially it’s trying to draw the principles that Rockefeller used in the 19th century to build so many of the world’s biggest organizations at a time when there was only the telegraph to communicate with. It basically says you’re going to distill down what your company is doing to no more than five, and preferably even down to as few as three, things that the company is all working towards. What that requires you to do is to make a lot of choices about what not to do, and if you think about that then you know the mistake that I say that we made going down the V-Math road in the US.

If we had been making those narrower choices then we may never have embarked upon that particular agreement. The companies that have been most successful over the last 20-30 years, you can read so much of the great research that’s gone into this. Are those companies who are most willing to reallocate their capital to move their people and their resources, most willing to do that? That’s what’s so powerful about Rockefeller. It makes you make a few key choices and drive the company towards that. I think as entrepreneurs it’s incredibly valuable.

The final thing about Rockefeller is, I say this time and time again when I talk to people about running various different enterprises, nobody wants to be doing too many things and doing them a bit badly. Everyone wants to do a great job. They want to do a few things really, really well. So why not organize the company accordingly? Focus on the problem at hand and narrow the focus into doing those things and doing them really, really well. It takes a bit of thinking to get a large number of people and resources in behind a few key things. It’s not easy. It doesn’t necessarily fall out easily, and we started doing it in 2012 at 3P Learning, and we got pretty good at it at a leadership-executive level. We had that pretty down pat, and we lived it every day.

We would fly in our CEOs from the various regions, and all our key people, in every quarter. So we’d have a full complement of around 18 people working on strategy for a week every quarter, and that’s how we outperformed our forecasts every single time, including in that publicly listed space. We’ve smashed our forecasts by a mile, and because you keep driving, and you keep improving the business systematically every quarter. Rather than setting a strategy, running it for a year, and then changing it, you’re changing it much more iteratively.

Where we didn’t execute well, David, was down into the organization. We hadn’t learnt that art of integrating that really nicely down through right throughout the company. We’re really good at what we needed to choose, and to run that at a leadership level.

David:

Can I ask you just about that choice? Then let’s talk a little bit about that team thing, because there’s a great question that I’ll go to in a minute. There’s a great question in the chat box, but let’s talk a little bit about that strategy piece for a moment, I think. Then you and I have discussed this previously, but I think one of the really cool things about strategy is picking the things to do and actively deciding, not what to do. How do you make those choices in those early stages?

Tim:

If you can only do two or three key things then you’re automatically going to get rid of a lot of stuff. You’re going to get rid of a lot of stuff if you’re not moving the needle. Just that principle of narrowing the things that you’re working on is powerful in-and-of itself. You’re going to make much harder choices. How do you make decisions? Ultimately, if it’s not the core of the business, if it’s not driving the core when you’re a small enterprise, if it’s a side thing that might not bring in revenue. Don’t do it. You want everything driving into your core product, your wheelhouse. Every dollar counts. Every second counts in those early years. It’s so easy to get seduced with side deals and new initiatives, and no doubt, particularly on the marketing side, one of the things I’ve observed a lot is teams will do five marketing initiatives, and three of them will be moderately successful, one not so good, and one will be really fantastic. Then they’ll come to the next phase and they’ll do five more, and they’ll do a little bit more of the one that was successful, and drop off the one that didn’t work rather than really narrowing in on one that worked. Do that a lot, and find a new way to do it.

The same principle of spreading yourself too thin happens both within functions like marketing, or growth, as it does in your company. It’s amazing how much someone does one little campaign that’s successful. We’ll do that 10 times, and repeat that, and build a big business out of that success driver. I talked about events at 3P. Once we worked out we could use events to bring customers into the platform, and then we worked out how we would convert those into paying customers. We just went, “Right. Now we just need to develop events that work for the stage of the company. And so if you map out the event roadmap for 3P Learning, it follows our success. There was the Trans-Tasman challenge with New Zealand followed by the UK. We ran around the UK as captain of Australia, stirring up competition. It was a fabulous competition. Unfortunately I think Australia lost that particular challenge, which then grew into World Maths Day, which then grew into the World Education Games, and all the time you’re using those events as ways into those territories. We did the American Math Bowl. I think it was our first entry point from 2014. They’re really useful leaders and drivers.

Through that time, through those events, we really started to find our purpose. I fortuitously met Norman Gillespie who was running UNICEF in Australia. We became global partners with UNICEF around the school-in-a-box, and the events really started to connect into those far flung regions and really started to have a purpose that we were trying to get kids to school. In some ways, we learned our success drivers. We then learned to repeat them and use them sensibly to build the business. In those learnings we found out that philanthropic purpose. 

David:

I said to you there was a great question and it is connected in here, so let’s have a look at this. “What were the first three roles you recruited?” and I’ll put the next, which is, “Why?”

Tim:

Engineers, and engineers, and engineers to build stuff. Teachers, teachers, teachers to dream up and create the stuff, and talk the language, and build the product in the image of the users that you’re making for teachers.

David:

I have to stop you and pull you up because you and I have spoken about this privately. There’s also an operations person who was really important to the 3P journey as well. I think that’s a really interesting story that EdTech entrepreneurs listening should hear a little bit too.

Tim:

We hired a finance manager, Lindsay, in 2007, and she turned out to be our Sheryl Sandberg. If I think of how important she was, I can’t understate how important she was to 3P Learning success, and just thinking about some of the key mentions she had, which I think were fabulous. No skeletons in closets. So if there was anything we’re worried about in the finances or the operations, we would open the closet, we’d get in there, and we’d fix it, and resolve it. I guess she always had a mention that we would always have a few things up our sleeve for a rainy day. That was part of our ability to outperform our forecasts. We always had something in reserve, so we never spent every cent of our revenue and everything as we went.

My mantra has always been, “Every great business needs its Cheryl Sandberg” and Lindsay was certainly that to us. Very wise, very capable.

David:

We have got a few minutes left and there’s some really important things I wanted to talk about. We’re just going to run a little bit over time. I’m saying that so the people in my control room can hear me, because I can’t speak with them anymore. Hopefully they can hear. Hopefully they’re watching this live stream 15 seconds behind me making that statement.

I just wanted to talk very briefly around two big themes. I want to talk about Australian EdTech as a whole. I wanted to talk about, “Where do you think Australia sits in this global EdTech ecosystem?”

I think our products across the board are about as strong as anywhere, and that is our real strength. We build great products. We are obviously a product country, and the most successful EdTech companies generally have a great product. In the US, yes, you can get away with great sales and marketing. But the product is definitely our strength. Our weakness is building scale and scaling those businesses. I think it’s incumbent that we hold on to those enterprises.

David:

I have to ask, why do you think Australia has a weakness in scaling businesses, Tim?

Tim:

It’s not so much a weakness in scaling it. I think the natural thing is, as they grow, they end up just getting sold rather than being built for the long term. 

David:

So we sell the IP as opposed to scale it locally. Is that what you said?

Tim:

Yeah. We build it and then we sell it part way along the journey. I think we’ve got a real chance in Australia to build some really substantial enterprises that have a massive home base here, and the intellectual property designed here, I really strongly encourage entrepreneurs who are going into the EdTech space to hold on to it, build it in something really significant. The longer you work on a problem, the more you’ll understand it, and the deeper the impact, and the more lasting the impact that you’ll have.

David:

There’s no doubt Australia has built some incredibly big education businesses and EdTech businesses, and I think the two big ones, other than 3P, but obviously Navitas, might be a great example. You’ve also got incredible organization. You know our education sector has gotten massive brand recognition around the world, and that leads me to the question. Business Futurist, Tom Faye, who predicted that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet. My question to you is, “Do you think it could be an Australian company? Do you think he’s right?”

Tim:

That’s a curveball question, for sure. I think Australia is going to have a lot of unicorns in the EdTech space. I think we’ll have a lot of billion dollar enterprises in Australia. I think that’s Inquisitive, obviously.

David:

Talk to me about what you think of the Australian network ecosystem, and why you think we’ll have these unicorns.

Tim:

I don’t think we fear those markets overseas. If I think of the 3P Learning journey, we were the number one in the UK, Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Australia. We got to the US by 2014, and why didn’t we come here first? What a shame we didn’t start there and then build outlets. I think there’s a lot of young teams in Australia that are squarely focused on building really substantial businesses, and they can see it. So I think it’s a mindset and culture shift. I think, David, that EdTech in Australia has a really strong tradition. We’ve got a lot of good companies that have been through those early generations of EdTech, and the next generation is only going to get better. It’s really exciting.

David:

I agree 100 percent with you. I see some incredibly exciting EdTech companies that I know that lack some things in terms of some of the structural elements that they need to really outgrow…

But here’s where I want to leave. I want to leave you with the following question: you get to choose because you’re in education, and now we’re all about the personalized learning journey. You can pick the question that you want to end on. So the question for you is, you’ve got option one, which is, “What do you think we need to do as a country to ensure that our EdTechs are more successful? Is it encourage more investors? Is it encourage a different regulatory framework from our organization? Is it to build connection and collaboration across the sector?

Or question two you can choose from is: “In five years time, we have this conversation again and we’re now talking about, instead of the 3P journey, we’re now talking about the Inquisitive journey. What’s the story look like?” So you can choose whichever one of those questions you want to go and tackle.

Tim:

I reckon the second one is probably more interesting to me because I think there’s a lot of capital for EdTech now, and a lot of long-term capital. So people who want to back people to build big businesses over a long time. I feel like that first question kind of answers itself a lot more. Now you’ve got a good proposition. There’ll be money, and plenty of it. So I think that’s changed. So if I then jump to the second question, I would love to see that Inquisitive has played a part in really simplifying what a teacher wants to do, and has helped solve that problem really well. Pretty much every student and teacher across the world, and one of a dozen Australian EdTech companies that have thrived, and you know something like that would be a pretty nice point to arrive in 2025.

David:

Well, that’s a perfect place for us to segue, and for me to say thank you so very much on many fronts, Tim, for the support that you’ve provided to EduGrowth over the last year or so with helping us at events like this.