Jamaican ed-tech company, EduFocal Limited, went public on the junior Jamaica Stock Market (JSE) on March 3, 2022. The offer was closed within one minute of being opened due to an oversubscription of approximately 230%, raising $428.42 million.
Within weeks of the IPO, EduFocal's value more than tripled from $1.00 to over $3.00, making it the fastest appreciating stock in the history of the junior JSE.
This kind of success is a CEO’s dream, but for Gordon Swaby, cofounder of EduFocal, it is very much the anticipated fruit of great labor.
"There is some talk about whether EduFocal is overvalued. My answer to that is, we are priced exactly where the market wants to price us. Which is really due to the confidence they have in the growth of our company," said Swaby, who cofounded EduFocal a decade ago to address the issues plaguing Jamaican's education system.
Having identified prohibitive costs and an inflexible approach to teaching as key problems faced by students across the island, EduFocal sought to leverage technology to educate people at scale.
“When you think about education, it's not necessarily confined to the walls of a school. Education is conversation, education is sharing of knowledge that can be used," Swaby asserts.
To that end EduFocal offers online courses developed by qualified professionals, based on the Ministry of Education's curriculum. To date, the platform has been tapped by over 100,000 parents seeking academic support for their children.
Swaby credits the platform's efficacy and success to its unconventional approach that's committed to "making learning fun".
"Learning is seen as boring, but it doesn’t have to be. Learning is only boring if there is no alignment between what the person wants to learn and what they are being taught," Swaby says.
"The world is changing everyday, but the curriculum isn’t changing fast enough. So I want to ensure that Edufocal is big enough but still nimble enough to affect the kind of change I believe we should be seeing.”
With that in mind, he and his team consistently aim to deliver a service that not only educates, but engages its users as well.
This innovative approach has proven effective since the company's inception. And, it is the reason EduFocal saw its revenue more than triple in one year during the pandemic. And, according to Swaby, why the company is projected to generate JA $50 million in profit in 2022.
Presently, Swaby has no intentions of slowing down in his quest to enhance the culture around education in Jamaica: "I’m just at the start of what is expected to be a very long journey that will be fruitful for myself, my employees, my family, and fruitful for Jamaica...It’s my fiduciary duty to ensure that when people put their money into EduFocal they see a return. Even if the company was valued at $4 per share, I would have to work hard every day to ensure that $4 is justified, if not today, in the near future,” he says.