Eric Gisaeus of SchoolParrot tells us how they are making schools & education accessible in the world through insightful reviews & the next-generation platform.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Eric Gisaeus: My family and I are fine but it feels like the entire world is in some shadow right now. Many have lost loved ones. Covid-19 restrictions in Sweden are like in many countries but many people are not law binding. Although we have not experienced lockdown, we work from home just like in many other countries.
But hey, we are alive and kicking, and let’s look forward.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded SchoolParrot.
Eric Gisaeus: I’m an entrepreneur that has founded several companies over the past 10 years. I started with Leeads which is an advertising sales house together with my partner Oskar Sardi. Today, it’s one of Sweden’s largest sales houses for programmatic sales and online premium ads. After a few years, the company was steady and I started a web development company within the group – Hyper Valley. Within Hyper Valley we did external jobs for customers but also started building our own platforms, first out was Ocast.com – a marketplace for the media industry. I fenomenal idea actually, we have had some tech problems but they are still yet to become a cornerstone for the whole independent publishing and media market. Then I started breakit.se together with Olle Aronsson and Stefan Lundell, a tech news site in Sweden.
SchoolParrot is where I am an operative and the CEO. The company was born out of all the learnings from before. We wanted a huge market, a problem solver, and something that helps out the community for a good cause. We wanted to be able to scale, scale without any bigger problems.
How does SchoolParrot innovate?
Eric Gisaeus: SchoolParrot is a review platforms for Schools. We launched in Sweden in 2019 and has become the largest reviews site for schools in one year. SchoolParrot solves the problem that schools often rely on government data, parents and students read reports about schools. However asking the question that you usually do to a friend – “is that school good”, how is it like? These questions are still today mostly answered mouth to mouth or through social media. If published, it disappears a few days later.
With SchoolParrot all content gets stored in a controlled environment and thousands of others can read what you think about the school.
We launched in the UK, South Africa, and New Zeeland so far. The roadmap is to launch many more countries.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Eric Gisaeus: Corona pandemic has affected us a bit, we are a new company. Just started to sell our product and platform to the schools. Corona hit and schools shut down, at least – all focus was corona handling.
We have huge respect that a review platform might not be in focus when you need to battle a pandemic. What we did was to focus even more on the product tech. Things that we had in a plan later. During 2020 we managed to launch 3 more countries and develop our platform into something that is really ready to hit globally. With this said, some lack of revenue but still our platform sells even if it is a pandemic running.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Eric Gisaeus: Having schools as customers we tried to look into their eyes, suddenly we saw that our platform was actually even better during the pandemic. Since schools are closed, people tend to be more online our service is just right. Instead of meeting people, you can read what others say anyways at SchoolParrot. It was an eye-opener for us, right in front of us.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Eric Gisaeus: We have not taken any actions towards government money. It feels that there are companies that need them more than us. We have investors and run our business as projected. With some minor time change and bumps due to the pandemic.
Your final thoughts?
Eric Gisaeus: I think in general the online scene is the most lucky industry, the whole world went online and feels we fast forward 3 years in development. Video calls in all companies, working remote. A lot has changed but I think most people have not really realised it yet. We need to wake up from the pandemic and then we can see the leap in digitalization. At least I hope that for schools communication.
At the same time, I really want to get back and enjoy IRL and this is one of the most important factors for us as well. Kids need to be in school and feel comfortable, at home and have fun. Our business is a cool company but in the end, the schools and the kids in the schools are our future. We just want to support that community.