jumpAgrade was created in Limerick through two friends Padraic Hogan and David Neville. The founders orginally started out with a mission to democratise the grinds turoring system to make it more affordable for all students, now their mission has expanded to creating a personalised teaching platform to reach the most amount of students as possible, we caught up with the team to find out more:
- What is jumpAgrade? What services do you provide?
jumpAgrade is a post-primary Education company and social enterprise. We provide school goers with personalised teaching from the comfort of their own home. Many of our students will have their jumpAgrade sponsored for them by various generous funders that we work with, other students then pay privately for the service they choose.
We have 2 main services which students can sign up to or which funders (access programmes, businesses, philanthropists) can avail of to sponsor students.
Personalised Service: Providing a deep impact for students with personalised support every week. Here’s what is involved in this service:
- Needs Analysis: This detailed survey gives the jumpAgrade team the insights they need to assign students their best possible teachers, who will then be aware of their specific needs.
- On-demand Weekly Masterclass: Pre-recorded and on-demand classes for students to access anytime, anywhere, as many times as they like.
- A1 Standard Sample Question and Answer: A worksheet and sample question, as well as a video solution, prepared by our teachers, accompanies the weekly masterclass.
- Teacher Office hours: Live, walk-in sessions available for students at a set time every week to provide additional, one to one support.
- Personalised Worksheet & Video Feedback: an assignment on a subject of their choosing, with personalised formative video feedback.
- Study skills Seminars: On-demand videos detailing tips and tricks from the jumpAgrade team to help students build good study skills and habits.
- Wellbeing Program: a blend of live and on demand resources to help support our students mental, physical and emotional health.
Revision Courses: providing broad support for hundreds of students to prepare for exams.
This year (2021), jumpAgrade also provided access to revision courses to over 700 students, in the form of weekly masterclasses. These students were also given complimentary access to our study skills seminars and our wellbeing program.
Company Vision: To help every student to fulfil their potential
- To put our personalised learning toolkit in the hands of every teacher and student
- Motivate, engage & student build confidence through holistic support
- Empower the change in the education system
- Be research driven
2. How did the company come about? How long did it take from when you had the idea to launch?
Funny story actually, David Neville & I spent many weekends meeting up chatting about business ideas in coffee shops. Eventually we landed on trying to drastically improve online grinds. After knocking on hundreds of doors we uncovered that there was huge interest in the service we were proposing. So, we made a start and after a while we realised there was an interesting element to grinds culture in Ireland. The truth is, the costs keep grinds out of reach to many so we started to become more of a social enterprise by working directly with funders that could sponsor multiple students. It’s worked brilliantly so far as our average grade improvement is 14.6% and rising. Funders are happy and students are happy, it’s a win-win.
3. Why did you choose to set it up as a social enterprise? What were the benefits for the company being a social enterprise?
For us, being a social enterprise is a no brainer. Being able to do work with such an obvious purpose and with such an impact is just fulfilling. Going into the office is so much nicer knowing everyone on the team shares a common (good) goal.
4. What has been the biggest learnings from when you launched until now?
Oh god, am I have to say it has been a steep learning curve. Look, it’s a bit cliche but not being afraid to fail is huge in any business. Fear of failure will stop you trying things and ultimately the more times you shoot at a target the more chances you have at hitting it.
5. You’ve won a number of awards since launching. What have been some of the highlights?
Yes we have indeed. The Social Entrepreneurs Ireland organisation as well as ReThink Ireland have helped us hugely and obviously see potential in us. Highlight number 1 was being announced as Social Entrepreneur Ireland Award winners for 2019. Following on from that then we became one oftheir Scale Partners for 2020-2022. This will help us scale our impact so the overall highlight for us I guess is being able to see a bigger and better future for jumpAgrade.
6. How did you go about attracting teachers and students to join the service at first? What type of marketing did you find works best? Has this changed since you launched?
There are many Facebook groups for teachers, we just requested to join a few and started posting up any opportunities we had on offer. It worked a treat. We do require teachers to have experience correcting for the state exams though which rules out many. As regards marketing, Facebook worked well in the early days, then Instagram became where we marketed to students. We’ve put up some ads on Snapchat too. Nowadays since we are focusing more on working with funders we meet them where they hangout which is Twitter & LinkedIn.
7. How has the pandemic impacted jumpAgrade? What have been some of the positives of the changes you have had to make?
Initially there was a huge uptake in our services because obviously physical grinds schools had to close and we were and still are the online experts in Ireland. We saw roughly a 500% increase in users over the course of a month or so. The pandemic has actually led us into a whole new area of focus. We’re developing our own EdTech. We are after making our own software that schools will be using in future to deliver feedback to students more effectively.
8. Where do you see the company in the next 5-10 years?
We’ll be a global company but always proud to be Irish.
9. Most people believe the education system is in need of serious reform. What would you like to see introduced so that your company and society at large can reform the Irish education system?
Our new software is going to reduce the time it will take teachers to deliver personalised feedback to students in schools all over Ireland in the next year. Research shows that 98% of students who receive personalised instruction perform better than those who don’t, so we feel what we plan to introduce will lead to positive reform. In the end of the day no one person, one group or one company will create a perfect education system but we’re committed to doing our bit.
10. Are there any other companies or people in the Diversity and Inclusion space that you are big fans of?
Here’s a few other social enterprises we’re fans of:
The Ease Project
GIY (Grow it Yourself) Ireland