An Ottawa-based startup that’s helped more than 30,000 students complete essays, book reports and speeches is preparing to write a new chapter of its own after being acquired by Vancouver online learning platform Wize.
EssayJack was launched in 2014 by Lindy Ledohowski, a former high school English teacher and university professor, with her husband Rueban Balasubramaniam, an associate professor at Carleton University’s department of law and legal studies, after seeing students persistently struggle with essay-writing.
The startup rolled out a web-based app that provides templates, frameworks, tips and prompts to reduce stress among students when they sit down in front of their computer by “making that blank screen less intimidating,” Ledohowski told OBJ in an earlier interview.
EssayJack launched in beta in the fall of 2015 and took part in L-Spark’s incubator program the following year before inking a multimillion-dollar partnership with Nelson Education, which handled the sales and marketing of EssayJack at schools across Canada.
Additionally, EssayJack looked to target tutoring and test-preparation services – smaller, privately run organizations with shorter adoption cycles and greater budget flexibility.
EssayJack’s acquisition by Wize comes as many students around the world continue to experience significant disruption to their education as a result of school closures stemming from COVID-19.
In 2020, EssayJack offered free access to its platform for more than six months, cut expenses by 15 per cent over the previous year and still saw its revenues grow by nearly 25 per cent.
With another school year around the corner, the firm is expecting a continued need for educational tools and assistance.
“This pandemic has changed education,” said Ledohowski – who will join Wize as vice-president of operations – in a statement. “With the huge learning loss unequally experienced by students in North America, we knew now was the time to combine our efforts to most effectively support student and educator success.”
For its part, Wize – which offers video lessons, guided practice problems, and prep courses – says the acquisition of EssayJack will help it round out its core curricular content and complement its science, technology, engineering and math offerings.