McGraw Hill has just acquired Achieve3000. Stuart is an EdTech veteran who discusses the pre-K-12 literacy gap, personalized learning, as well as open opportunities in B-to-C education models driven by Covid.
Sramana Mitra: Tell us a bit about your own background and introduce us to the company. Let’s get acquainted.
Stuart Udell: I’m the CEO of Achieve3000. We are a leading provider of educational technology solutions, specifically in digital literacy and digital math solutions for pre-K to 12 grade students. We are known for getting accelerated outcomes. We tend to do a lot of work, not exclusively, with struggling students who need to make more than one year’s growth in one year’s time so that they can better access and have better equity in the educational community.
In terms of my experience, I’ve spent the better part of my career in educational technology. I’m a four-time CEO. I did a couple of presidencies in larger companies before that. This is a really exciting company doing great work.
Sramana Mitra: Let me start by understanding the customer you’re selling to. Are you selling to school systems, districts, or directly to school? How do you go to market?
Stuart Udell: Our go-to-market is largely organized around selling directly to school systems. We tend to work with larger school systems. We are in 72 of the 100 largest in the country, and we are in 9 out of the 10 largest. We do sell to schools individually as well. We have a freemium product that’s selling to teacher level. That opens up the funnel for us to create leads and generate demand for larger opportunities. We tend to focus mostly on directly selling to school districts either to the superintendent, the deputy, or the chief academic officer. We tend to do well mostly in medium to large sized school districts.
Sramana Mitra: What kinds of numbers are we talking? Let’s say you’re in the 70 plus of the largest school systems. How many students would that have and what percentage of those students are struggling that you impact?
Stuart Udell: That depends largely on the district with whom we’re working. We work with some districts where more than 80% of kids are below the poverty line. If we look at very large systems like New York, LA, and Chicago, we’re dealing with 1.8 million, 750,000, and 500,000 kids respectively. In many districts, we work with all students.
In some districts, we work with certain populations like intervention students. We might work with English language learners in some districts. In many of the districts with whom we work, we work with all kids in the district. If we look at a large district like Clark County, Nevada, we work with all 330,000 students or so in the school district. That district has an enterprise license with us. They can access all of our platforms and products as needed.