GoGuardian’s El Segundo headquarters.

GoGuardian’s El Segundo headquarters.

In grade school, Advait Shinde never felt he was truly learning. He said he and many kids he grew up with would memorize information to get good grades on exams, but the place where he actually enjoyed learning was the internet.
 
“I turned to the internet as a way to really unleash my curiosity,” Shinde said. “There was such a big gap between my online experience as a kid versus my in-class experience.”

 
Years later, still driven by the motivation to make learning more engaging through technology, Shinde launched Liminex Inc., better known as GoGuardian, a K-12 education technology company. Founded in 2014 by Shinde, Aza Steel and R. Todd Mackey, the El Segundo-based company offers a host of digital learning software for students, teachers, parents and administrators.

 
GoGuardian’s suite of products — GoGuardian Admin; Teacher; Fleet; Beacon; Parent App; Pear Deck; and DNS, its network filter — assist with classroom management, student engagement, and technology monitoring and filtering. Its tools also increase student safety by identifying children at risk of self-harm or harm to others by monitoring internet history for threats of violence and bullying. Its products are most popular among administrators and teachers.

 
As the education technology market boomed in the past year and a half, driven by pandemic-induced demand, investors and users have flocked to GoGuardian.

 
The company’s products are used by more than 25 million students and 500,000 teachers in more than 10,000 schools. Its technology is used in 23 of the 25 largest districts in the United States. 
In the past year alone, the company’s customer base grew 75%, Shinde said. 


‘Best in class’

Shinde said the company has seen a 150% year-over-year increase in annual revenue this year though he declined to release the company’s sales figures.
“As a result of the pandemic, we’ve seen some pretty phenomenal growth,” he said. “We’re approaching (serving) roughly half of all learners in the country.”


The company has also caught the eye of major investors in the past year. In August, GoGuardian scored a $200 million strategic investment from New York-based Tiger Global Management, an investment firm managing an estimated $65 million in assets, according to Axios. The funding boosted the company’s valuation to more than $1 billion.

 
GoGuardian plans to use the investment for talent acquisition and product development. Shinde said the company aims to increase its workforce to 500 from 450 by the end of 2021 and reach 1,000 employees by 2023.

 
“This funding is going to be used directly toward expanding our team, particularly our product team, to continue the expansion of our portfolio,” Shinde said. 


Distance learning boom

GoGuardian isn’t the only digital learning company that has seen recent success. The pandemic caused a boom for the education technology industry as a whole, said Derek Higa, research analyst for Playa Vista-based consulting firm William O’Neil and Co. The market is worth around $10 billion in the United States, Higa said.
 
But despite the boom, the industry is fragmented and still in the “early days,” he said. Without one or even a few companies dominating the space, there is room for smaller startups to make headway in the industry, including several based in the L.A. area, such as Pasadena-based Numerade Labs Inc., Glendale-based Age of Learning Inc. and Beverly Hills-based Emile Learning Inc.

 
“Technology is becoming more integrated in our lives than ever, and schools are well behind in that,” Higa said. “During Covid, they realized that they’re going to have to catch up.”

 
The pandemic forced thousands of educators to become technology experts overnight.
Josh Davis, an instructional technology coach for the Downey Unified School District, said he became the “most popular guy in the district” after the onset of Covid-19 because many teachers were technology novices.

 
“GoGuardian does a good job of lowering that fear factor and making people willing to try technology,” Davis said. “As soon as we came back in person, teachers were like ‘Where’s my GoGuardian? I need it back.’” 


Hybrid learning future

Though thousands of students have gone back to in-person classes, Higa doesn’t expect growth in the education technology market to stall. He anticipates the market to grow at a rate of 30% annually through 2028, reaching around $80 billion by that year.
 
“There’s an opportunity for technology to supplement the curriculum,” said Higa. “It’s gonna be based on a hybrid learning experience.” 
GoGuardian is ready to take on the booming industry, Shinde said.
 
Though the platform is already used by more than 20 million K-12 students, his eventual goal is to reach “hundreds of millions” of students by expanding globally. Currently, 95% of the company’s users are based in the United States with the remaining 5% based internationally.


Because GoGuardian is “generalizable,” Shinde said he believes the company’s products can be useful to students in any country.

 
“The kind of platform that we’ve built today is one that is going to naturally lend itself to things like experimentation, rapidly increasing engagement,” he said. “Our aim here is to really maximize the educational potential of all learners on the planet, period.” 

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