Winner Spotlight: Permission Click Creates a Digital Permission Slip System for Schools
Are you tired of paper slips being lost in your child’s backpack? Well, what if you could collect permission slips, payments and event information in a digital platform?
Permission Click makes it happen. Permission Click, a Toronto Challenge Cup winner, allows schools, districts and parents to save time by introducing an environmentally friendly digital payment collection.
We caught up with Chris Johnson, cofounder of Permission Click, to talk about not only the story behind his company but also what’s coming next. Johnson will compete against other edtech startups at the Global Finals in Washington, D.C., in May 2015.
So tell me—what is Permission Click?
We are digital permission slips and payment collection for K-12 schools. Schools build digital permission slips that are sent home to parents, the parents click a link to approve, and return to the schools in seconds. Out platform further allow parents to ask any questions that they might have and pay for associated events. Most importantly, the information is securely stored for compliance.
What personal experiences led you to start Permisson Click?
So the idea sparked from one of our cofounder’s wife, a physical education teacher—she was always chasing parents for her students’ permission slips. Her husband, Scott Macaulay, came up with the idea of creating a platform to make her life easier through digital permission slips. Kevin and I were connected to Scott through the startup community and since then the rest is history.
Who are your target customers?
Schools and districts—basically the school principals, technology and service people in the district level.
What successes has Permission Click had so far? How do you plan to gain more traction?
I think success can be counted in a number of different ways. We were fortunate to secure seed funding, be named as the ‘Most Promising Startup of the Year’ by NACO, and advance to the global finals of the 1776 ‘Challenge Cup’ for Education in Washington DC. We plan to gain more traction through direct sales—calling districts, going to conferences and sharing our story and also securing distribution partnerships etc. We also plan to expand internationally; we hope to install more language options for global customers soon.
Who else is innovating in this space? What advantages does Permission Click have over competitors?
There are a few companies doing a few of the things that we do. Although there are similar platforms such as Paypal and Google Forms, we are the only player in the market that combines custom permission slip template building, digital approvals and payment collection without having the need to download applications. In short, we are a front to back solution. We also help schools and parents save time; our platform allows schools to deploy the system in less than 30 minutes.
What makes Canada a unique place to build a startup?
Canada has a vibrant and growing technology startup community. As a Canadian startup, I can reach out to a lot of people in other cities and get a lot of responses and support from them. We are hyper connected across the communities here.
Do you have any advices for startups pitching at Challenge Cup in other regions?
For your sixty-second pitch, don’t write a script, use bullet points —just pick the five most exciting things about your business to talk to. Traction is a solid idea to add.