"School Places" (schoolplaces.com.au), an online marketplace that helps independent schools maximise student numbers and thus optimise revenue by connecting them with families searching for discounted school vacancies, has received $2M in investment support led by Square Peg Capital, Tank Stream Ventures and rampersand.
School Places CEO Natalie Mactier said: “We are delighted to have the support of rampersand and Tank Stream Ventures, who have joined cornerstone investor Square Peg Capital. This injection of capital will allow us to accelerate School Places’ expansion plans, and we see it as proof of the momentum of our business.”
Ms Mactier said that School Places is receiving a phenomenal response, which included 35,000 website searches on the company’s official launch day.
“The number of enquiries and applications for vacant school places we received in our first six weeks far exceeded our expectations. Over that short time we estimate we have delivered more than $1M in school fees to our partner schools, while the parents who have taken up these offers will save a total of almost $200,000 over their lifetime. These results are driving additional schools in Victoria to come on board, as well as hundreds of parents to register for alerts when new school vacancies are listed.
“Our next step will be launching in New South Wales mid-year, before expanding around the country by the end of the year,” Ms Mactier said.
Markus Kahlbetzer from Tank Stream Ventures said: "We see education as one of the key sectors where plenty of disruption is yet to come. School Places’ platform solves a critical issue parents face when deciding to send their children to a private school, and we look forward to changing the way parents approach their child’s school placement.”
rampersand co-founder Paul Naphtali said: “School Places has shown terrific early traction, which is not surprising given it’s a great idea, backed by a strong team. We think they have uncovered a massive opportunity and have built a model that adds value to both parents and schools, and we look forward to helping School Places further accelerate its growth.”
David Liberman from Square Peg Capital said: “We know that online engagement between parents and schools for enrolments is the future, while private schools have an urgent need to optimise their revenue right now. School Places solves two market needs in a simple and compelling online model.”
School Places (schoolplaces.com.au) is the world’s first competitive marketplace for private school places. The idea for the business was conceived by 25 year old Jeremy Wein, who was using an online travel site while his father discussed a friend’s struggle with rising school fees.
School Places helps families search for and secure a discounted place in a private school via a transparent and simple online enrolment process. At the same time, it benefits schools and their communities by helping them optimise student numbers and revenue, and minimise the need to increase fees.
School Places team includes Chairman Paul Sheahan AM, whose education credentials include Housemaster of Geelong Grammar, Principal of Geelong College from 1986-1995, and Headmaster of Melbourne Grammar School from 1995-2009. Bob Grant AM, who was Head of Sydney’s Shore College for nearly two decades, heads business development in NSW and the ACT. Meanwhile CEO Natalie Mactier whose previous experience includes CEO of News Corp’s Kidspot.com.au, and senior roles at seek.com.au, has in-depth understanding of parents’ issues and digital habits.
School Places launched in May 2014 with 11 private schools, and it will expand into New South Wales in July.
SPC aspires to be the leading Asia Pacific based investor in venture and growth stage online and technology companies. The company backs people with great passion and vision, who have the capability to execute on that vision and to make a difference.
Tank Stream Ventures (TSV) is a technology-focused fund investing in the brightest early-stage Australian startups. TSV is a $20m fund that invests in companies that are typically solving problems in areas such as collaborative consumption, online marketplaces, e-commerce and social. Co-founded by Markus Kahlbetzer, Tim Fung and Jonathan Lui, the fund is managed by investment manager Rui Rodrigues. Based in Bridge Street, Sydney, TSV is affiliated with co-working space Tank Stream Labs which houses 29 startups and 129 entrepreneurs, who between them have raised $19m in investments.
rampersand is an early stage Australian technology fund, investing in outstanding teams with big ideas. We recognise startups need more than just money to succeed, so we provide guidance and support around growth and access to international networks. rampersand was founded by Jim Cassidy and Paul Naphtali.