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Blue Sky has done the maths and invested in an Aussie education tech company that is making it big in the US


Blue Sky Private Equity, a division of Blue Sky Alternative Investments, has made a multi-million investment for a significant minority share of education technology company, ORIGO Education which provides primary school mathematics solutions tailored to local curricula through a cloud-based learning management system.

The capital injected will allow ORIGO to continue to invest in the research and development of its existing suite of products and to significantly expand its sales force and team of professional learning providers to capitalise on current momentum in the US.

The kindergarten to fifth grade school maths instructional materials market in the US alone is worth US$1.3 billion in revenue per annum. That’s a pretty big pie to bite into…

Taking steady strides from Australia to the US

ORIGO was founded in Brisbane in 1997 by James Burnett (pictured right) and Dr. Calvin Irons (pictured left), two highly respected mathematics educators to provide instructional mathematics products to Australian schools.

The company’s suite of products has grown to include student participation materials and sophisticated interactive digital learning products targeted predominantly at Australian and US teachers and students.

In the last two years, ORIGO has won several large, long-term contracts with major US school districts, with its core product, Stepping Stones, adopted by three of the largest fifty school districts in the US.

Today, more than 80 per cent of ORIGO’s revenue is generated in the US, where the implementation of the Common Core State Standards across many of the 50 states is set to drive increased demand for educational materials.

Why has ORIGO attracted Blue Sky to invest?

Blue Sky Private Equity investment director Lachlan McMurdo said he was impressed with the intellectual property (IP) and scalability of ORIGO’s business.

“ORIGO’s founders are sought out by schools and education administrators globally, and they have developed impressive global IP over many years,” Lachlan said.

“ORIGO is leading the market in innovative learning, and the company’s recurring revenue base gives us and our investors a great deal of confidence.

“The key competitive advantage lies in the high quality of ORIGO’s products and successful expansion into the massive US market is proof of the global scalability of the business.”

Blue Sky has earmarked education technology as a sector to watch.

“Education, and specifically edutech services is an attractive space for Blue Sky – there are huge technology gaps to fill in the curriculum,” Lachlan concludes.

Co-founder James Burnett, said ORIGO is challenging large, established players in the US market.

“The fact prominent school districts have selected ORIGO’s products over other established multinational education publishers has strengthened our reputation in the US and globally.”

“We are looking forward to the next phase of growth with Blue Sky’s backing,” he said.

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