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Edtech company secures investment to help disabled students overcome presentation anxiety

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An education technology company has secured investment to help disabled students across the UK overcome their fears of public speaking.

Estendio will use the £450,000 investment to expand its reach and support more students with disabilities via its presentation support app, Present Pal.

The funding, in the form of a long term Convertible Loan Note, comes from Scottish Enterprise and a handful of heavyweight private investors.

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Estendio was founded with an initial investment of £50,000 in 2015, before going on to turn profits over the last two financial years. The company has seen its revenue triple and the team expand from four to 17 members during the pandemic, in spite of a highly disrupted global education market.

The company’s flagship product, Present Pal, was launched in 2018 by founder Chris Hughes, as a solution to the communication challenges and anxiety he was experiencing as a dyslexic university student.

Three years on, the accessible app is supporting over 5,000 students with disabilities in over 100 colleges and universities across the UK to help increase their confidence and overcome their communication challenges.

Nearly all (93%) of university students need to present as part of their university course, according to Estendio. However, this disproportionately impacts the 300,000 UK students with disabilities, with 86% admitting that they struggle with presenting.

Founder Christ Hughes said: “I had to give presentations two or three times a week as part of my degree. I was getting so frustrated spending hours preparing every week only to forget key information during my presentation.

“After reaching out to my disability services, I was told this was a common challenge for disabled students and I was offered the chance to present directly to my lecturer or to skip the presentation altogether.

“After working so hard to get into university, skipping this key skill wasn’t an option for me, so I made a solution for myself. I’m incredibly proud that today this tool now supports thousands of presenters in gaining the same experiences and opportunities as their peers.”

Commenting on the investment, he added: “I am hugely proud to secure this funding. The drive and determination of my board and leadership team over the last year has been monumental in what has been a hugely successful year. I am incredibly grateful to Scottish Enterprise and our consortium of private investors for the opportunity to continue on to the next chapter of the journey of scaling into international markets and becoming a game changer in the accessibility market.”

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Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke

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