Former Tesco boss invests in Liverpool app developer

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

Sir Terry Leahy is to invest in Parentapps, a venture, which he believes will revolutionise communications for schools.

The Speke-based company has come up with an app-based system to do away with the “forgotten crumpled letter at the bottom of the school bag.”

“Parentapps operates in a really big area, which is schools and parents, and so it touches upon everybody. That is a big idea and if you can make a useful contribution to the day to day lives of nearly everybody then that is something that matters,” he said.

Bill Currie, a former retail analyst for Barclays and Charterhouse is also backing the firm. He’s previously invested in Caffe Nero and The Perfume Shop.

“The traditional form of communication is giving children letters to take home to their parents. Those letters contain all kinds of important information about school trips, changes in policy, consent forms, events and so many more things,” explained co-founder, Kevin Clayton.

“Such important communications are often put in the hands of very young children who would often stuff them at the bottom of their school bags and forget about them - it is a serious weakness in the chain. With the new laws around data protection, and the safeguarding of young children, sending out information via a paper letter poses a number of risks.

“Our app, which can be individualised for each primary and secondary school, and nurseries, does away with that process in an instant saving the school time and money and reducing its carbon footprint.”

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He established the company with his wife, Hailey Clayton, who’s now the firm’s sales director.

They currently have 350 schools signed up, employing 15 staff at its Liverpool base.

“I think the education sector is an untapped market. Digital technology is revolutionising the way we live our lives. But if you look at a schools today, they are quite conservative around IT.  They haven’t been able to fully embrace all the potentials of digital technology,” continued Leahy.

“The cost of letters and newsletters, and phone calls and texts is enormous for schools - and it is very time-intensive and unreliable. Parentapps have developed a product that takes away all of that cost, makes it much easier and reliable and really improves the way schools communicate with parents.”