Scaling EdPlace, a London-based EdTech Startup
Education & Training
Rearchitected for Scale
It was an exciting time for EdPlace, a growing educational technology (EdTech) platform that helps kids improve their skills in English, Science, and Mathematics. They’d been in business for a decade when, in 2014, they began to see rapid growth—with over 10,000 families using their system.
Of course, growth always brings challenges, and CTO Will Lord worried that their legacy coding wasn’t up to the task of scaling to support both feature expansion or the increasing volume. They had started with a core idea and progressed with it, but it was not designed or built for rapid growth or scale.
Will was well aware of the current systems’ limitations and worried it might prevent them from responding to the growth in a timely and efficient manner. He also worried that the outsourced developers, who had brought them to their current stage of development, might not be able to scale the system.
What Will and his team needed was a reliable technical team who could implement best practices and create a scalable infrastructure—one that would not, in any way, disrupt the experience for existing customers. He also needed the team itself to be scalable so he wouldn’t need to hire new developers as the project grew.
Selecting the right vendor was quite a long process. Net Solutions was the company that stood out from the outset. And all the way through to the details, it was clear that they understood what we were looking to do. They were the ones that impressed us the most.
After a long selection process, Net Solutions proved the strongest, most capable team. EdPlace needed an iOS app (for use on iPhones and iPads) that gave parents quick, seamless access to information about their kids’ progress. There were all sorts of challenges associated with building an app that worked with the existing platform, which is why it proved to be the perfect test for Net Solutions.
At this critical phase in their development as an organization, EdPlace took a leap of faith on Net Solutions—asking them to deliver a new product that, if done right, would greatly enhance their value proposition.
EdPlace had a product that over 10,000 families were already using at the time, but the existing system was not set up to scale. The outsourced team was focused on maintaining it and fixing bugs, and EdPlace didn’t have the budget at the time to rebuild the entire infrastructure.
Bringing in a new team like Net Solutions involved some risk. Could they simply jump in and extend the system to support the app? Any misstep could lead to problems and a loss of business, so the existing team extended the backend under Net Solutions’ guidance.
Fortunately, Net Solutions was able to work with EdPlace’s back-end team to extend the backend with Net Solutions’ consultation. This also allowed the Net Solutions team to learn the back-end system without losing themselves in the code during that initial development period.
The result? A fully integrated app. Plus, EdPlace had the added benefit of a team of engineers at Net Solutions who understood the backend and could take over when the time came.
Net Solutions has a calm confidence about them, that they’re going to build the product properly and to a very high standard. That’s hugely reassuring to me when working with them.
It’s been said that if you have an hour to chop down a tree, you should spend the first 45 minutes sharpening your axe. Net Solutions knew that a successful launch would begin with high-level planning.
This meant relying on the expertise of a Business Analyst (BA), a User Experience (UX) Analyst, and a Technical Architect (TA) who would work with EdPlace to create an app that facilitates efficient data transfer with drag-and-drop controls.
They made sure the final product also included innovative features, such as:
I have a lot of confidence, as a nontechnical founder, that I’ve actually found a partner in Net Solutions that can give me that depth of experience that I need across the board. As a growing company, we need an increasing amount of resources, experience, and flexibility in order to grow.
After the successful launch of a well-received MVP, EdPlace relied on Net Solutions to implement changes that improved not only the app, but the entire platform.
Based on the success of the app, EdPlace hired Net Solutions to rewrite the legacy code, making it far more scalable and enabling improvements like:
EdPlace continues to rely on Net Solutions today to improve their platform, helping them maintain their place as one of the UK’s most successful EdTech companies.