A Start Up Year In Review….#EJ2016MOMENTS

Happy New Year.pngThe start of a New Year is a time to set goals, break bad habits, and make plans for the future. 

It is also a time to reflect on the previous year. While the world saw a lot of change in 2016 – some good and some bad – we at Team EssayJack want to take a moment to reflect on some of the good that came out of the year.

This blog post differs from our usual topics to reflect not on what it takes to build a great essay, but what it takes to build a great startup. 

Very recently, EssayJack was just an idea in the minds of our intrepid co-founders (see The EssayJack Origin Story), and when 2016 began ours was a teeny tiny team made up of our two co-founders and only one off shore developer. Our 2016 story offers a glimpse of a start up year in review….

In the lead up to the New Year, we counted down our top 10 moments of 2016 on the EssayJack Twitter Handle using the hashtag #EJ2016MOMENTS. But as we all know, a year is more than a few moments; it is a collection of incidents – both large and small – that only seem to make sense in hindsight. Like so many startups, it’s hard to measure progress, hard to get perspective, and hard to see the proverbial forest for the trees.

 

So if you have an interest in startups, and want to see what our hindsight narrative of 2016 looks like, here are a few way points on our journey: 

 

Moments in the EssayJack Start Up Story in 2016:

 

To see all 10 of EssayJack’s Top 2016 Moments, check out the twitter hashtag #EJ2016MOMENTS

IMG_6314-1-140436-edited-250290-edited.jpgOne important milestone for startups is when the recognition for your innovation starts to come in from others. There are metrics such as revenue and user growth that are crucial to any business development, but there are also those external validators and rewards that your industry offers. Does your innovation stand out? Awards are a way of confirming that it does. For us, that confirmation came in March 2016 when we found out that we were a finalist for an ELTon Award in Digital Innovation.

The EssayJack educational platform was recognised by one of the Judges as “the most comprehensive structured writing tool I’ve seen”.

The ELTons, which are annually hosted by the British Council, are the only international awards that recognise and celebrate innovation in English Language Teaching (ELT). Only six months after launching our beta product, it was an hounor for EssayJack to be a part of these prestigious awards.

For more on the ELTons, please see click here.

 

 

 

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At some point in their development, nearly all startups will be faced with the question about whether or not they want to join an incubator. We made the choice to join L-Spark, Canada’s answer to YCombinator so that we could focus not just on product development, but on business development with the guidance and mentorship of those who had been there, done that.

Through our time at L-Spark, we hit a number of key milestones, one of the most 

important being hiring our first full-time employee. Whenever you find your startup moving beyond the core group of founders and bringing in your first employed outsider, take a moment to celebrate it. For us, this moment happened in spring 2016, two years after first starting to test our product in the marketplace.

For more on L-Spark and its portfolio companies, click here.

 

 

 

 

undefined-414054-edited-417405-edited.jpgAs your startup grows, define your go-to-market strategy. How are you selling whatever it is that you are selling? How are you getting your great product or service in front of the people who need it most? For us, we wanted to partner with those selling interesting products in the educational marketplace. Why go it alone, when we could partner and leverage the contacts and connections of those already selling complementary EduTech to 

the very people who need the EssayJack platform? With Nelson, we secured our first nation-wide partner to sell and market EssayJack in  Canadian schools, colleges, and universities in the fall of 2016.

Nelson, Canada’s leading publisher of innovative learning resources for educators and students ranging from pre-kindergarten to university and college, will be distributing EssayJack into schools, colleges, and universities in 2017 and beyond.

We’re pretty excited about working together, and for full details, read the press release here.   

 

 

 

 

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In addition to celebrating hitting and exceeding your corporate objectives, there may be individual people who make a big difference. Who are the game-changers in your start up? Who has

 the passion?  Who is your visionary?

We all know that our CEO and co-founder, Dr. Lindy Ledohowski leads and inspires us, and in 2016 she placed 2nd at the 13th Annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business in the category of Canadian Female Entrepreneur of the Year, proving that we’re not wrong in believing in her and following where she leads.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business are the world’s preeminent business awards for female entrepreneurs, executives, employees and the organizations they run.

To see highlights from the awards, check out our post-event blog with video clips and more.

 

 

 

Thank you for all your support in helping us have a successful 2016 in our start up, and we wish you all the very best for your own startups for 2017 and beyond!

Mark those moments and treasure them when they come.

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