For teacher Andrew Gribben, it wasn’t just his students feeling the pressure of homework. Often finding himself working late into the night he knew there had to be a quicker way to prepare lessons that would save teachers time and avoid duplication. With a previous career in software development, it suddenly struck Andrew that there was a business opportunity to be exploited.
“As a teacher with a background in software development, I was surprised to see how the adoption and use of technology in education is relatively small, compared to industry,” says Andrew. “Instead of making teaching easier and more efficient, poorly designed hardware and software has actually made it harder for teachers as they grapple with multiple platforms which they are often not familiar with. Instead of just complaining about it, I decided to use my skills to create a product that would help teachers and students around the world.”
Andrew decided to create a mobile app and web based teaching tool that would allow teachers to plan lessons quickly and easily. With an intuitive workflow that makes repetitive tasks easier teachers would be able to imbed a lesson plan with documents and various media formats ready to present to his class.
Around a year later Andrew found out about Invest Northern Ireland’s Propel programme through a friend. He applied through the website and was accepted on to the programme.
With little knowledge of business on a large scale, let alone internationally, Propel provided Andrew with a springboard to meeting investors and gave him the structure he needed to create a company.
“I knew I had a good product ”says Andrew. “But I needed to tell people about it. Propel provided me with the right connections and much needed mentoring which allowed me to prepare my product for investment. The funding I received allowed me to travel to the United States to carry out market research and from this I was able to generate early sales in overseas markets.”
Now trading as Jotterz, 200 teachers have already signed up to use the new service with many more in the pipeline. No surprise when you consider that Jotterz can save teachers up to 33% in preparation, planning and assessment time and improve communication with both students and parents.