Startup from Minas Gerais state revolutionizes the relationship between parents and schools with the creation of a digital agenda
March 3, 2018

Source: Estado de Minas


How a simple idea, which emerged from the personal need of an entrepreneur, became a success story. The startup Escola em Movimento has just signed a partnership with an investment fund worth R$ 2 million

Gone are the days when children came home from school with a paper booklet containing the teachers’ notations about the next day’s agenda. In 2013, this reality “took bomb” with the emergence of the digital agenda – School on the Move. It is a startup focused on developing solutions for communication between students, parents, and employees at kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high schools. The company’s solution replaces that old school agenda, turning it into a versatile communication tool via smartphones and/or the web.

School application for communication

Escola em Movimento currently serves more than 450 private schools in Brazil and abroad and, in 4 years of operation, has more than 260,000 students in its base. The company was a pioneer in the segment, creating customized applications for educational institutions. With the technology developed, schools can reduce costs with paper and phone calls, but mainly make communication with parents and students much simpler and more effective. Currently, through the Escola em Movimento technological platform, educational institutions can send text messages, photos, videos, and other files to users. It is possible to schedule events, create personalized service channels, have complete statistics about usage, and manage all communication through the tool.

Among other features, in 2017, it incorporated to the product the innovation of “I’m Arriving”, in which the school is notified by the app of the parents’ arrival, thus avoiding traffic jams when students leave. “We believe that our technology will evolve to the point of making an even greater difference in the school’s relationship with parents and students. As a company, we want to help institutions improve this relationship and thus enhance student satisfaction and retention,” says Guilherme Rocha.


Since its foundation, Escola em Movimento has brought people and companies that helped it grow and structure itself. Also in 2013, it received an angel investment from JWW, a family holding company that made the first contribution. In 2016, it was the turn of the entry of FC Partners, an investment boutique specializing in family businesses that brought a great deal of experience in management, governance and processes supporting the structuring and growth of the business. And the startup from Minas Gerais celebrates one more step in its market development plan. The company has just received an investment of R$2 million from a venture capital fund managed by Cedro Capital, a fund and resources manager, with the objective of developing and accelerating its business. For Guilherme Rocha Ribeiro, the Fund’s investment potentializes the company’s growth. “The investment will be used to accelerate the startup’s growth in the domestic market and to develop new features in our platform. We aim to consolidate our position as a leader in the digital school diary segment, reaching more than 500,000 students by the beginning of 2019,” Guilherme projects.

According to Leonardo de A. Silva, CMO and co-founder of Escola em Movimento, Cedro Capital, through the fund, identified the immense potential of the technology market for education and valued the innovation offered by the company. “Paper diaries were used for a long time. But there was a natural limitation in communication there.

Interview with Guilherme Rocha Ribeiro

How and when did you come up with the idea of creating the digital agenda?

The School in Movement was created, basically, by the experience of a very real problem. In 2013, my children had just entered kindergarten. At that time I realized how the interaction and communication between the school and the families was. You need to know what my children’s day-to-day life was like at school. A common concern shared with other parents is: whether the child has eaten well, if he/she has been able to sleep, how the hygiene issues have gone, in short, all matters related to the school routine. And these answers came in the form of filling in the diary. So, for someone who is from the technology area and has experienced a lot of migration movements to the mobile and digital environment of various solutions, it was very evident to me that someone, at some point, could create a digital model. To our surprise, this movement had not happened yet. The year 2013 was marked by the consolidation of the way to communicate with Whatsapp replacing, for free, SMS. So I thought: if people were using the message exchanger, it meant that they had a smartphone. And secondly, that they had an internet plan on their cell phone. So the two things added up, plus the current stage of the schools, we saw this as an interesting business path. I went in search of an investor to help us in that endeavor. I had also had experiences in schools. I have been a college professor, game and adult education teacher, and a college course coordinator. So, the experience in this environment helped me to understand very well what the student routine was like. But, without a doubt, getting into our first pilot schools and understanding the communication routines was fundamental for us to develop a product that would be a success.How was the beginning? The difficulties you faced and the strategies you created for dissemination?

Every beginning is complicated. It has challenges of many different kinds. First, it was necessary to understand the reality of what would really appeal to the customer. Then, get to know the product well before sticking it on sale. And the interesting thing about this is that before we even develop the product, we sell the idea. And we started to listen to the schools’ wishes. With everything written down, we went back home, and then we started to develop a draft of a product that the schools demanded. And not what we imagined would be nice for them. This was very important for us. Sell before you have the product. Attract potential interested partners. And then proceed with the development. This was a very important strategy. And to spread the word, we tried everything. What worked most was knocking on the school’s door, being greeted by people, and talking about the idea. The digital agenda with was something that nobody understood the concept of. We had to elucidate the project in the clients’ minds, answer all their questions, and talk about the multiple possibilities so that they would be interested. As we didn’t have much capital, our strategy used to reach the national market was to look for partners. It was a very cool strategy at the very beginning of our commercial action and helped us to conquer new markets and clients without having to invest a lot of capital. Selling the service, especially to a traditional client such as the school, is complicated; the human contact helps a lot in this convincing. Without this contact we would not have this success.

Who are the creators and what positions do they hold today?

Originally, of those present in the company, only Leonardo Silva and I remain in the operation. I was the brainchild of the idea and today my position is CEO of Escola em Movimento. Leonardo is the CMO, responsible for the Marketing and Commercial areas.

Today the application is used in 450 schools in Brazil and abroad (which countries?)

Today we operate in Brazil and also in Mexico. We also tried a partner in Canada, but our product did not fit the Canadian model. Mainly because it was very much aimed at small schools, and then the product was not interesting because of the cost-benefit. We are looking for other partners in Latin America that have structures similar to ours, a very large private sector presence.

How much was the initial investment by the partners at the time of the launch in 2013?

The development of an information system, however simple, is capital-intensive. It is very difficult to get technical partners, willing to take a risk and enter the market, so the technical team has always been mostly professionals that we hire, either in PJ or CLT, outsourced or internal, but it is an expensive team. This initial investment, before even generating the product, really requires more capital. We had a super angel, which was the JWW company, a family fund that made an initial contribution during two years, of 800 thousand reais. This investment was fundamental for us to make this first ramp-up of the company.

How many partners does the startup currently have?

Thinking partners as partners, we started with JWW, a technology company here in Belo Horizonte, Eteg Tecnologia. Then, Eteg left and FC Partners came, which added a lot to our management. After that, we have minority partners. And also a partner company in the digital part, which hosts our mobile team, located in São Carlos, São Paulo, which is Token Lab – with a high level of domain and mobile expertise. And recently, the contribution of R$2 million from the partnership with the venture capital fund managed by Cedro Capital.

What are the goals for the coming years?

In 2018, our goal is to get to half a million students, and over the next three years it’s to get between a million and a million and a half, it’s really to multiply that by five over the next three years. Basically, that is number of students. Automatically we increase our base, and we can work on other offers for that base.

Finally, do parents have direct access to their children’s grades?

This is an interesting question that is recurrent for people who want to get to know the product. Not immediately, no. I say immediately because in many schools we have integrations with the academic systems. And with these integrations we fetch the information, send parent notification when the grade is released, or even give access to the student’s entire report card within the app. But why I say that is a recurring question. It is because within the school context the grade, the academic result, despite its importance, is less than 5% of what the school communicates in its day to day. The note is legal, it is important. We even want to do more things to display the notes in the app. But it is the other 95% that give the schools the headache, and that is what brings the parents dissatisfaction. It’s not that we want to become a management system, that’s not our goal in the market, but to aggregate the partners’ information and bring it into the application.