Kickboard, New Orleans education tech company, bought by PowerSchool | Business News | #education | #technology | #training

Kickboard, an education technology company founded in New Orleans just over a decade ago, has been bought by Folsom, California-based PowerSchool, a $4.3 billion educational software developer.

Kickboard, which develops technology to help manage classroom behavior and “culture”, is the latest in a recent spate of buy-outs of local firms by larger firms. Boosters have lauded this a sign the tech sector is maturing and reaching a new level of importance in the local economy.

New Orleans’ startups were hot even before recent blockbuster deals, Tulane report finds

Levelset, a construction software company, sold in September for $500 million, and Lucid, which is in marketing technology, sold the following month for more than $1.1 billion, both record sales for Louisiana tech start-ups at the time.

Earlier in the year, TurboSquid, which develops 3D imagery, sold for $75 million, and recent research showed that even before the big deals this autumn momentum had been building for the region’s start-up businesses in terms of their ability to raise additional finance.

Kickboard and PowerSchool said the terms of Thursday’s deal would not be disclosed.

PowerSchool listed shares for the first time on the New York Stock Exchange in July and said it had sales the previous year of $435 million, up 19% from 2019. While announcing its latest quarterly financial results on Wednesday, the company said it is forecasting about $555 million in sales for 2021.

Kickboard was founded in 2009 by Jennifer Medbery, formerly a Teach for America math teacher at Sci Academy who came to New Orleans after earning a degree in computer science from Columbia University.

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As with the founders of other companies that were recently acquired, Medbery went through the Idea Village “accelerator” program, receiving mentoring and intensive training in entrepreneurship.

Medbery has said the inspiration for the company came from her own experience as a teacher and the cumbersome way she and her colleagues had to track and measure classroom behavior of students.

“Jen came to New Orleans as a Teach for America Fellow, saw a problem that was a barrier for students in her classroom, and turned removing that barrier into a successful education technology company that now touches tens of thousands of students across the country,” said Jon Atkinson, CEO of Idea Village.

Kickboard raised initial investment of $800,000 locally and in 2013 it secured $2 million from investors, mainly New Markets Venture Partners of Maryland and Two Sigma Ventures of New York.

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The company has been operating from headquarters at 1824 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard since 2018.

“The recent string of exits collectively validate the quality and value of the companies born from the local ecosystem,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of GNO Inc., the regional economic development agency.

“The result will be greater future investment and opportunity for our company founders,” he said. “The fly-wheel is turning.”

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