IO Education (formerly Longleaf Solutions) is the startup with a recent merger that is quietly scaling quicker than almost anyone else at the Village. With a passion for education and a super likable, dedicated team, they are using technology to positively impact and change our education system. They offer insights on a holistic view of educational data that empower educators to identify and implement improvements in their classrooms, schools and districts. Bottom line? They improve parent engagement, increase student achievement, empower teachers and create operational efficiency. Who wouldn’t love that, right?
Keep reading to learn more from the CEO of IO Education, Michael Williamson.
What is ioeducation?
IO Education is on a single mission, which is empowering educators to use data to improve educational outcomes. We are a K12 platform designed to deliver the right data to the right people at the right time.
What is the problem you are trying to solve in education?
The biggest challenge facing every school district in the U.S. is not lack of technology. Quite the opposite, the explosion of technology in schools has created data silos in every corner of education. Despite the better part of 15 years of failed data initiatives, the problem is that there is still no true method to aggregate this vast amount of disparate data and create insights and actions to improve student achievement. We are solving this problem!
What traction do you have?
IO Education was formed from the merger of CaseNEX and Longleaf Solutions who were both working on complementary solutions to this problem. Now under one roof we have built the K12 data platform and modularized our product portfolio to allow for maximum integration and extensibility of the solutions that we can offer to customers. This approach has given us a considerable opportunity to grow.
We currently have a staff of 81 in 4 offices across the U.S. and headquartered here in Atlanta at the Village. We have over 5,000 schools using our products, with over 1,700,000 students in the system that we are helping promote student achievement for. We have over 100,000 active educators using the system and closing in on 1,000,000 student and parent users who are logging in over 5,000,000 times a month.
How do you define success?
We would define success as being able to help educators efficiently use all the data available (classroom, school, district, state) to personalize instruction and ultimately improve student outcomes in every school that we serve.
Any words of wisdom for other entrepreneurs?
Our early success has been built upon really listening to customer pain points and needs and then working hard to deliver innovative solutions quickly. You have to have knowledgeable users using the products every day in their daily workflow to get this important feedback.
If I started the business over again today I would’ve given the product away to a couple of the most influential and innovative school districts in the states that we initially focused on to get that important feedback as early as possible.
Based on our early feedback, we completely changed direction of our product development and ultimately were able to deliver a very compelling solution to deep customer pain points. Time is a very precious resource in the early life of a startup and you can expedite your product development and sales/marketing messaging by getting close to your potential customers as soon as possible.
Where will IO Education be in two years?
In two years you are going to find us on mission – breaking down the barriers that stop educators from helping students achieve. We strive to be a listening and learning organization, so as our partner needs change over the next two years, such as with the upcoming implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), we will continue to innovate our products to support our partners in doing their job well. And as technology changes, we will continue to reevaluate how we can build and operate the most dynamic K12 data platform in the K-12 market.