The origins of ParentPaperwork and its mission to replace paper forms in schools

David Eedle, the co-founder of ParentPaperwork, explains the origins of ParentPaperwork.

I’m staring at the kitchen counter top, there are five piles of paper lined up and my partner in life and work Fiona is explaining how she’s delegating responsibility to me for dealing with each of the piles. Perhaps ‘explaining’ is too mild, maybe ‘instructing’ is more accurate.

Fiona and I have three children at school – a 17 year old daughter in her final year; a 14 year old son and an eight year old daughter. Between them they also participate in five sports activities including footy (yes, the real one, Australian Rules); soccer (what the rest of the world calls football); tennis; swimming; and basketball. They also variously participate in a range of other activities such as scouts, and dance, music and singing classes.

There is nothing particularly special about our family, other than we’ve managed to out-perform the Australian national average of one point something children per family. Fiona and I at the simplest are reduced to being taxi drivers and ATMs, doling out transport and $50 notes at random. I even have a laminated sign I hang on my study door at home during school holidays captioned “This is not a taxi depot, if you require transport you need to book in advance.

What we share with every other family we know is that we drown in paperwork. Not a week goes by without several missives arriving, most requiring our completing a form and returning it to school or whoever is organising the activity. These forms range from the short (“Sign and return”) to complicated (“Complete this two page medical details form plus one page personal details form”).

Our son was a scout for five years. Almost every week his scout troop went on an excursion – by which I mean they walked from their scout hall to some close by location. And under the Scouts Australia rules you have to complete a two page medical information form EVERY TIME. Which is emailed to you, you are expected to print the form and take it with you to the scout meeting. Of course I was the one who turned it into a PDF form and started emailing them back.

I have lost count of the number of times Fiona has called, texted, emailed or stuck her head around my study door to ask “what’s our ambulance membership number?”. In our home state of Victoria everyone pays an ambulance membership fee, it’s less than $200 a year for a family, and is a darn good insurance given even a short ambulance ride can set you back more than $1,000 – with multiple kids playing contact sport it’s inevitable at some stage we’ll need to call an ambulance to some wet, cold playing field one winter.

Because I’m a smarty pants I use Evernote to hold all the essential information in my life, I even have scans of the kids’ birth certificates for when we need to complete new sport team registrations. And of course the ambulance number is in there – so I act as the collective memory for the family. Hence I often wind up completing all the forms.

Back to the kitchen counter. We had one of those synchronicity moments most long term couples share, because we literally looked at each other simultaneously and said “how come none of this is online?”.

What’s even weirder is we actually DID have the same idea six or seven years ago, although more focussed around the issue of collecting payments from parents as well as permissions. We made it as far as registering a domain, building a few sample pages, and meeting with a couple of schools, however it seemed the world was not ready, as we found little interest at that time.

Fast forward to late 2013 and again we approached schools in our local area and said “we think you have a problem with paper forms. Is this true? And if so, would you be interested if we attempted to create a solution?”. This time every school answered “yes” and “yes”.

So we spent a couple of months drafting a basic system and went back to the schools and asked “what do you think of this?”. The responses were encouraging and during the first few months of 2014 we continued to iterate and develop the platform, and tested the ideas with local schools.

Thus ParentPaperwork was born.

Our mission is simple. We want to replace paper forms in schools worldwide. We’ve spoken with schools and parents in many countries, and every single one has confirmed to us that paper forms are a time and cost burden, it makes no difference where you are– Australia, UK, New Zealand, USA, India, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Ireland – we have schools piloting ParentPaperwork everywhere.

In August 2014 we participated in StartUp Victoria’s inaugural pitch night, and won, adding further confirmation that ParentPaperwork resonates with almost everyone we speak to.

In December last year we closed a seed round of just over $350,000, and now we are knuckling down for the long journey to helping schools everywhere save time and money, and improve liability management, by dumping their paper forms and transitioning to our online forms platform.

We’re excited by the future for ParentPaperwork, we might be building a commercial business but when schools and parents tell us our system is making their lives so much easier, then that’s a great reward.

Education technology startup ParentPaperwork announces Indian distribution deal

Education technology startup ParentPaperwork today has announced it has signed an exclusive distribution deal for India with smartData Enterprises (India) Limited.

smartData will distribute and support ParentPaperwork’s online forms platform into the vast Indian schools marketplace. smartData Enterprises, a subsidiary of smartData Enterprises Inc, a California based incorporation has a excellent track record of developing high end software solutions with strong expertise in healthcare, business automation, web and mobile applications. One of the known names in the areas in which it operates, smartData ranks globally no 1 on oDesk and amongst top 5 provider on Elance. smartData has its HQ in Mohali Chandigarh with branches in Nagpur and Dehradun.

ParentPaperwork’s CEO and Co-Founder Fiona Boyd says she is excited by the opportunity:

“There are more than one million schools in India, it’s one of the largest education markets in the world, in comparison there are maybe 160,000 or so schools in the USA, it made complete sense to us to look to India when deciding on our growth strategy.

We met with Mr Ajay Tewari, Director and CEO of smartData in Melbourne last year, he was kind enough to express great enthusiasm not just for our current ParentPaperwork product, but for our overall strategy and product development plans.

We’re grateful to Ajay and his team for making the negotiations a positive experience, and coming to an arrangement that will benefit everyone involved.”

smartData CEO Mr. Ajay Tewari says:

“The solution caught my eye due to its good UI and ease of navigation and its customizable functionalities help in catering to all strata of schools. With Indians taking liking to web and mobility, the timing for such productive application is a blessing in disguise for the much in demand “education” – we Indians are known for across the globe. I am very optimistic and excited about this partnership which will open doors for many such future alliances between the 2 organizations”

ParentPaperwork closed a seed round of just over $350,000 late in December 2014, and has spent the first few weeks of 2015 progressing a number of international deals such as the one announced today. Since Christmas ParentPaperwork has also appointed its first sales representative in the USA, and started an online marketing campaign into the UK.

Fiona Boyd says whilst it is early days, the level of enquiries from around the world has been excellent:

“In the last month alone we’ve fielded enquiries from the USA, UK, Middle East, South America and Europe as well as our home base of Australia. ParentPaperwork solves a problem experienced by virtually every school in the world, and we do it in a way that is simple and easy to implement and operate. Our cloud-based software as a service solution for online forms in schools has struck a chord with teachers and school administrators everywhere. At the end of the day our mission is to save them time and cost in an efficient and effective way, and that’s a proposition that resonates no matter where a school is located.”

If Indian schools are interested in ParentPaperwork they should contact smartData on +91 172 406 0000 or email info@smartdatainc.net.

About ParentPaperwork

ParentPaperwork is an online platform to automate paper forms in schools. The system manages excursion forms, field trip forms, permission slips and many other forms parents need to complete for their children and send back to school. By moving their paper forms online schools can achieve significant time and cost savings, reduce the hours needed for school staff to manually manage the process and improve liability management. For more information, and a free trial please go to www.ParentPaperwork.com.

About SmartData

smartData is a software business consulting organization with experience in building high end database driven applications for global customers which includes start ups, growth oriented organization (SME) and enterprises. smartData, is a CMMI 3 company with strong competencies in Open Source & Microsoft platform, Mobile Apps. In today fast paced world, its not just about being delivering value for money, its also about being simple, better, cheaper and faster – business approach smartData follows. A well-defined CMMI processes armed by band of young enthusiastic smartians donning the culture of work hard play harder, makes smartData an experience to work with and work for. Team smartData by following right mindset (customer centricity, commitment and credibility), right attitude (zero defect products) and right techniques (optimizing effort than otherwise) is on its path to success demonstrating that its vision of Scaling has a meaning in real sense.

www.smartdatainc.com.

More information:

David Eedle
+61 (0) 419 876 942
david@parentpaperwork.com

Vivek Sehgal (India)
+91-9988400666
sehgalv@smartdatainc.net