From educators to technology heroes, how one couple turned frustration into a growing business.
From educators to technology heroes, how one couple turned frustration into a growing business
When Paul Sibson gained Principalship of Fendalton Open-air School in 2007, he relocated from the UK with his Kiwi wife Aimie, a secondary school teacher.
Paul was faced with the same frustrations in NZ as he’d experienced in UK schools. Report writing was labour intensive resulting in reports that were too generic, out of date and delivered too late to do anything about.
In 2009, Paul released a new reporting system for Fendalton which delivered reports throughout the year – online and in real time. Teachers were delighted with the time saved, meaning they were able to spend more time teaching. Parents got a better understanding of how their kids were performing and could work with the school to take action if needed.
It wasn’t long before other schools got wind of the tool and wanted to use it. In 2013 Aimie and Paul set up a company and so, Linc Technologies was established, paving the way for LINC-ED.
They worked with the Ministry of Education to get accreditation giving them the ability to expand the system to school administration, including attendance, enrolments and billing.
Continued growth meant that in 2016 the two educators turned their full focus from being educators to leading Linc Technologies. Paul drove the product development and Aimie became CEO, building the business and developing the vision.
They were accepted into Vodafone’s Xone Accelerator Programme. They describe the programme as “excellent”, helping them think about growth and scale from the outset; providing valuable introductions and exposing them to the learnings of other scaling businesses.
The year saw rapid growth in the number of schools and the business brought on its first employees.
Building for scale
As they continued to grow, the couple realised their technology was not suitable for scale and international expansion. Paul and Aimie made the tough decision to rebuild their entire platform from scratch. The result is a modern platform built on cutting edge technology (GoLang and Ember), with API-interface enabling them to partner and integrate with other platforms. It is cloud-based, secure and totally scalable for growth.
They named the new platform ‘Hero’ and are enjoying having some fun in their marketing to their ‘Heroes’ – the students, teachers and parents who use the platform.
Investing in the long-term
It isn’t only the technology that has been built for growth. Early on they established a board that helped them think strategically about building a globally scalable business. They each have a coach
or mentor and Aimie values the connections she has made through Christchurch’s Executive Women in Tech group.
The next chapter for the business is all about global growth, starting with Australia and South East Asia.
They say Christchurch is a great place to live, bring up their family and to grow a business. The couple have found it small enough to know lots of people, but big enough to have a buzz and excitement.
From their perspective, Christchurch has enabled them to build deep relationships which help in growth, especially with NZTE, ChristchurchNZ and Callaghan Innovation.
“Christchurch is paradise,” says Paul.
Aimie and Paul are looking forward to the next chapter and helping more schools, parents and above all, kids globally. To find out more listen in to the EPIC Podcast with Paul Sibson.
This article originally appeared on Canterbury Tech the voice and connector of Canterbury’s technology companies.