Software investor poised for growth

15/02/2017 - 16:40

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John Vickers (left) and Grant Grosser have leadership roles at both EHG and Seqta. Photo: Attila Csaszar

The investment holding company that has bought Perth startup success story SEQTA Software is poised to lead further rationalisation in the education software sector.

The recently established Education Horizons Group is the new owner of both Seqta and Melbourne-based Synergetic Management Systems.

Together they form Australia’s largest locally owned education software business, with the capacity to offer schools a complete end-to-end solution.

John Vickers, who will continue as executive chairman of Seqta while filling the same role at EHG, said the holding company structure would enable EHG to pursue further acquisition opportunities in the sector.

EHG last month completed an off-market takeover of Seqta, which was an unlisted public company with about 70 shareholders, and would be able to pursue similar deals in future.

Its shareholders included Navitas co-founder Peter Larsen, who invested in Seqta in 2012, and Mineral Resources boss Chris Ellison, who participated in a $6 million capital raising in 2015.

Mr Vickers said the new structure brought together two of the leading minds in the K-12 ed-tech sector in Australia – Synergetic managing director Tim Dawson and Seqta co-founder Grant Grosser.

Mr Grosser, who will be an executive director of Seqta and EHG with a focus on product innovation and development, said schools would be the biggest winners from the new combination.

“EHG gives schools the unique opportunity to benefit from a fully integrated, end-to-end software solution supported by two long-standing, reputable companies working together to create the best experience for schools,” he said.

Synergetic’s academic, administrative, fundraising, finance and student management software is currently used in 690 schools, while Seqta’s teaching and learning software is used in 455 schools.

The EHG deal comes one year after Seqta acquired SchoolPro, which had developed a school administration software package typically used by smaller schools that did not need or could not afford the Synergetic solution.

Seqta co-founder Sharon Grosser is moving to a new role as the inaugural chief executive of advocacy group StartupWA (see Technology, page 34).

Mrs Grosser said the startup landscape was very different to what she and her husband encountered 10 years ago when they co-founded Seqta, with hundreds of people and organisations operating in the space.

“It’s incredibly exciting, but can also be confusing, especially for newcomers,” she said.

“It’s important that we help startups navigate the ecosystem in order to find the resources they need at the time they need them, rather than wasting precious time bouncing from one networking event to the next trying to connect with the right people.”

 

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