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The top 20 “powerful” Australians on Twitter, according to KPMG The top 20 “powerful” Australians on Twitter, according to KPMG
The top 20 “powerful” Australians on Twitter, according to KPMG

The top 20 “powerful” Australians on Twitter, according to KPMG

By Eloise Keating

Orignal Article

Entrepreneurs Holly Ransom, Mark Woodland, Mark Bouris and Julian Plummer are among 20 Australian business leaders nominated by KPMG as leading the way when it comes to using Twitter.

Ransom, who is the founder and chief executive of Emergent, has come in at third position on KPMG Australia’s inaugural ‘Twitter power list’ with her 93,000 Twitter followers. Woodland is the creator of childcare administration platform Myxplor and number five on KPMG’s list, thanks in part to his 168,000 followers.

Yellow Brick Road founder and chair Mark Bouris, who has close to 28,000 followers on Twitter, is number 13 on the list, while Midwinter co-founder Julian Plummer, who has over 3000 Twitter followers, is number 20.

KPMG said in a statement the list of influential Tweeters is based on “quantitative and qualitative data” taken between January 1 and May 10 this year. To make the list, Twitter accounts had to be for an individual who is a chief executive, managing director or chairperson for a company, business, national division, advocacy group or peak body that is Australian or headquartered in Australia.

Topping the list is Telstra chief executive Andy Penn, who has more than 38,000 followers, followed by Jason Killens, the chief executive of SA Ambulance, who has more than 3000 Twitter followers and is second on the list.

Also in the top 10 are Kon Karapanagiotidis, chief executive of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre; Brendon Gale, chief executive of the Richmond Football Club; Frank Quinlan, chief executive of Mental Health Australia; Pip Marlow, managing director of Microsoft Australia; Michael Ebeid, managing director of SBS; and Andrew Fagan, chief executive of the Adelaide Football Club.

“Social media, and Twitter in particular, has given a mega-phone to business leaders, a platform that previously did not exist for them to express their point of view,” said James Griffin, director of KPMG Social Media Intelligence, in the statement.

“Conversely, it has also placed the leaders at the coal face of customer discussions, giving a completely unvarnished (and in some instances painful) direct perspective on how their organisation is faring in the eyes of the customer.

“As more businesses utilise social channels for business purposes however, it can be said that the risk of not being on social media today outweighs the risk of being on it.”

Here is KPMG’s top 20 ‘Twitter power list’:
  1. Andy Penn, chief executive of Telstra (@andy_penn)
  2. Jason Killiens, chief executive of SA Ambulance (@jasonkillens)
  3. Holly Ransom, chief executive of Emergent (@hollyransom)
  4. Kon Karapanagiotidis, chief executive of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (@kon__k)
  5. Mark Woodland, chief executive of Myxplor (@markwoodland)
  6. Brendon Gale, chief executive of the Richmond Football Club (@brendongale25)
  7. Frank Quinlan, chief executive of Mental Health Australia (@frankgquinlan)
  8. Pip Marlow, managing director of Microsoft Australia (@pipms)
  9. Michael Ebeid, managing director of SBS (@michaelebeid)
  10. Andrew Fagan, chief executive of Adelaide Football Club (@fages1)
  11. Todd Greenberg, chief executive of the NRL (@todd_greenberg)
  12. Michael Carr-Gregg, managing director of The Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre (@mcg58)
  13. Mark Bouris, chair of Yellow Brick Road (@markbouris)
  14. Tony Pignata, chief executive of the Sydney A-League Football Club (@tpignata9)
  15. Martin Dougiamas, chief executive of Moodle (@moodler)
  16. Deidre Willmott, chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Western Australia (@cci_ceo)
  17. Tim Costello, chief executive of World Vision Australia (@timcostello)
  18. Cassandra Goldie, chief executive of ACOSS (@cassandragoldie)
  19. Jan Owen, chief executive of the Foundation for Young Australians (@janowenam)
  20. Julian Plummer, managing director of Midwiner (@julian_plummer)
Can software revolutionise childcare? Can software revolutionise childcare?
Can software revolutionise childcare?

Can software revolutionise childcare?

Mark Woodland, founder of childcare centre app Xplor. Photographer: James Braund.

By BELINDA PARKES

Original Article

Xplor founder Mark Woodland took a “very small problem” and came up with a very big solution to revolutionise the childcare sector.

Mark Woodland stumbled into entrepreneurship. The 33-year-old founder of Xplor, a multi-platform software system for the education sector, debuted on the BRW Australia’s Young Rich List in 2016 with an estimated net worth of A$54 million.

It’s a remarkable achievement, given that seven years ago Woodland had quit the army and was working as the receptionist at his mother’s childcare centre. He had no experience or training in either child care or business. What he did have was insight, and a determination to solve what he saw as a glaring problem with his mother’s business.

The retired school principal had opened her childcare service in suburban Melbourne but found herself bogged down in administration and reporting, rather than engaging with the children.

Woodland took over so his mother could escape the office to be with her young charges. However, he became frustrated with what he saw as an archaic system of multiple data entry, numerous reporting systems and constant reassurance of parents. He resolved to find a better way.

This is the first time for a very long time there’s been a brand in education that people have wanted to get behind.”

After an app developer quoted what Woodland calls “a stupid amount of money” for his “crazy idea” to incorporate all the operations into one, Woodland taught himself computer code and developed the software himself.

It was the skeleton for what has become Xplor, an end-to-end operating system that allows childcare centres to communicate in real time with the children’s parents by sharing photos, messages and videos while also accepting payments, monitoring data and managing reporting obligations.

Launched in August 2015, Xplor helped change the outlook for the childcare centre, which had been navigating rough financial waters. Woodland went on to open two more centres, but after people caught wind of the software he’d built, these were sold to fund the building of Xplor into a saleable product.

“It turns out my very small problem in a very small childcare centre was a problem everyone was experiencing,” Woodland says.

Xplor is given to childcare centres for free, and Xplor also gifts the associated hardware – an Apple iPod Touch – to each educator.

The cost is borne by the parents. For A$2.50 per week they get easier sign-in procedures, access to their child’s records at the touch of a button, and the ability to log in to see live-streaming or photo updates of their child’s day.

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Xplor’s growth has been mostly organic. Woodland was so busy coping with the rollout demand for Xplor that he turned away investors.

He even turned down an approach by one of Australia’s largest venture capitalists, AirTree, not knowing what it was or what it could do.

AirTree persisted and locked in a A$6 million funding round in June 2016, adding the expertise to manage Xplor’s explosive growth.

In eight months, Xplor grew from four staff to 40 and is now in 1200 Australian childcare centres, 350 in Malaysia, 100 in the US and 36 in the UK. It has expanded into schools, family day care and has had interest from the aged-care sector.

On the back of the US success, Woodland will head up an Xplor presence in America from June.

“This is the first time for a very long time there’s been a brand in education that people have wanted to get behind,” he says.

“No one has been willing to make education sexy and we have slotted into that spot, and people want to be involved. They can see the vision we have.”

One piece of advice

Don’t do it for the money; life is too short. Find your passion, back yourself and do it. And don’t give up.”

Xplor, the edutech start-up that evolved out of a childcare service Xplor, the edutech start-up that evolved out of a childcare service
Xplor, the edutech start-up that evolved out of a childcare service

Xplor, the edutech start-up that evolved out of a childcare service

By James Harkness

Orignal Article

Melbourne-based edutech start-up Xplor recently raised $6 million in Series A funding. It’s a big win for founder and CEO Mark Woodland, who sees it as validation of his vision and business model. Having previously transformed his family-owned childcare centre into $22 million business, he’s determined to disrupt the early learning sector, here and abroad, by bringing education into the 21st century.

Launched in August 2015, Xplor is an app-based childcare management platform that enables parents to experience their child’s early learning journey in real-time through a live feed of photos, videos and activities. By automating roll-call and attendance as well as rosters, reporting, payroll, invoices, payments and HR, the platform also reduces the admin burden on educators, freeing them up to focus on teaching.

“There are no bolt-ons, no modules,” Mark told Dynamic Business. “Just a complete platform that gives parents, educators and administrators their time back.”

To extend its market reach, Xplor offers the software and supporting hardware, including iPod Touches and iPad check-in kiosks, free to education facilities in Australia and overseas. Meanwhile, families that sign up to the platform pay $2.50 per week.

Xplor is currently rolling out to thousands of childcare centres and kindergartens across Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and the USA. In addition, the platform currently facilitates over 5.5m daily connections across their existing pool of childcare centres and kindergartens.

Ultimately, Mark wants Xplor embraced by every single one of Australia’s 15,000 childcare centres and kindergartens. He spoke to Dynamic Business about his journey from ADF member to childcare centre operator to industry disruptor.

Romanticising education is the quickest way to kill it”

From 2003 to 2010, Mark served in the Australian Army within the Royal Australian Artillery and Australian Army Psychology Corps. During this period, his mother, a retired primary school teacher and principal, bought a childcare centre in Melbourne. To reduce his mother’s administrative workload, and thus allow her to focus on teaching, Mark joined the business in 2010.

He had little interest, however, in traditional teaching, believing (as he still does) that “the quickest way to kill education is be romantic about it”. Mark was also frustrated by the outdated and manual operating systems prevalent in the childcare sector. Consequently, he resolved to use technology to bring efficiency to the business and to redefine what it meant to teach and learn.

In 2012, Mark took the reins of Woodland Education. Over the next three years, he grew it from a $400k business into a $22 million business with three centres and a customer base of 850 families. Mark attributes much of this success to his experience in the Army, explaining that it taught him “perseverance and not to give up, even when the odds are against you”.

We need to stop teaching like it’s a decade ago”

In 2014, Mark founded Liveely, a software platform that automates administrative process in the aged care sector. Later, in January 2016, Mark sold Woodland Education to focus on the newly-launched Xplor. The edutech start-up, which had been in development since 2010, evolved out his original vision for the family business; namely, to redefine education while reducing admin, thus enabling educators to educate. Mark, who completely self-funded the software, said the business has spent the time since launch helping childcare centres and kindergartens to re-imagine education.

“Instead of being upset that children are incredibly engaged when using mobile devices or playing videogames, educators should seek to create that same level of engagement in learning,” Mark said.

“It’s the digital era, technology is here to stay. We need to stop teaching like it’s a decade ago because children, who are digital natives, are tuning out. By not embracing new technologies in the education space, we’re not only wasting our own time, we’re wasting our children’s time. We have a lot to lose if this continues. If we wake up and learn, we have a lot to gain.

“We are facing an incredible time in education. Childcare centres and schools need to compete on service, not rely on demand. Services around the world understand this and love the Xplor platform because we genuinely care about education and are solving the challenges currently facing the industry. We are solving a problem not creating a problem to solve.”

We’re expanding, exploring new technologies”

Mark said a continuing focus for Xplor is refining the platform to ensure the best possible service for parents, children, educators and childcare centre operators. In addition, the business is using funding from the Series A round, which was led by AirTree Ventures, to grow Xplor’s teams in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and the United States. There are also acquisition talks with other platforms in the space and plans to launch Xplor in the UK and China next year. According to Mark, the next five years in edutech will be incredibly exciting, with plenty of opportunities to evolve his start-up.

“Ten years ago, smartphones didn’t exist and neither did the digital and online services that matter the most today, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Uber,” Mark said. “It’s fascinating that ten years before that, the internet – not social media – was considered the biggest shift the world had seen. VR, I think, will be bigger than both, so we’re currently exploring VR platforms and interactive video.”

Mark Woodland: Disrupting Edutech Mark Woodland: Disrupting Edutech
Mark Woodland: Disrupting Edutech

Mark Woodland: Disrupting Edutech

By Gali Blacher

Orignal Article

CEO of Xplor- Mark Woodland is a recognised thought leader in the edu-tech space, and a current BRW Young Rich List member. Woodland witnessed first-hand the need for customised technology within the education sector, after working alongside his mum in Aussie childcare centres.

His team at Xplor now design software and technology solutions which mean educators can spend fewer hours focused on compliance, rostering and other time-consuming operational tasks – and have greater capacity to provide improved educational outcomes for children and families. Woodland’s mantra is ‘education before administration’.

Dynamic Business had a chat to Woodland about his experiences disrupting the edutech industry.

Tell us about the App?

The Educator App is designed to streamline compliance requirements for the Australian childcare sector. Traditionally, childcare operators have used paper-based checklists to record daily attendance, rostering, children’s medication, allergies and other compliance information. Instead, the Educator App provides a one-stop platform to monitor daily occupancy, incident and accident reporting, and a range of other compliance matters. Now available for free to Australian childcare operators – the Educator App will streamline and simplify compliance requirements, and set a new benchmark for the sector.

What impact do you plan to make?

I believe that Aussie childcare operators should not have to pay in order to meet national compliance standards. For this reason, Xplor is offering their Educator App absolutely free of charge to industry operators. The Educator App incorporates a range of additional features, all designed to save educators time and money. For example, the App allows childcare operators to monitor the health and status of every child, along with setting timers for programs such as rest periods and nappy checks.

Why does compliance have to be streamlined for Australian childcare?

The Educator App will leapfrog the Australian childcare industry from paper-based data entry, to a more secure and accurate standard of compliance technology. There are currently 18,000 childcare centres in Australia – and demand for quality childcare solutions is growing, as our workforce includes a greater number of working parents. Xplor aims to develop the technology necessary for this sector to optimise occupancy and enhance operational decisions, whilst providing families with excellent educational outcomes.

How did you fund this?

The Educator App has been self-funded using Xplor’s existing resources, and no additional capital was required.

What reception have you had so far?

The App has only just been released, and already downloaded by educators in thousands of Australian childcare centres. Xplor anticipates a further boost when the free Educator Programming & Planning platform is released this month.

Up 550pc: Young rich lister’s childcare app has a growth spurt Up 550pc: Young rich lister’s childcare app has a growth spurt
Up 550pc: Young rich lister’s childcare app has a growth spurt

Up 550pc: Young rich lister’s childcare app has a growth spurt

By Cara Waters

Orignal Article

The government’s sweeping reforms to childcare, which kicked off on July 1, have also boosted technology startup Xplor, which has raised $4.5 million to fuel its growth.

“It has been a very, very busy and hectic ride,” Xplor’s founder and chief executive Mark Woodland told Fairfax Media.

“We went to the market about May to raise our Series B funding round and pretty much within that month we closed it out. We will use that money to launch globally into the UK and US off the back of the massive customer growth here.”

The funding round was led by OMKA Group with further investment from AirTree Ventures which also invested $6 million in Xplor in an earlier funding round.

iBeacon sign in

Xplor provides an online platform so parents can interact with their children in real-time during the day, and childcare centres and schools can manage their operations.

Xplor’s app uses iBeacon technology to enable parents to automatically sign their children in and out of a childcare centre or school through bluetooth-enabled smartphones, and at school children can be tracked when they head to extra-curricular activities like counselling or music lessons.

Mr Woodland started Xplor in 2010 after being overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork when he helped out in his mother’s childcare centre.

Business has boomed with the startup generating more than $6 million a year in recurring revenue and the 36-year-old making The Australian Financial Review’s Young Rich List last year with an estimated wealth of $54 million.

“We’ve grown an incredible 550 per cent in the last 12 months and are adding 30,000 users to our platform monthly,” Mr Woodland said.

Childcare Subsidy Scheme

He said the government’s changes to the Childcare Subsidy Scheme was helping drive this growth.

“These major industry changes offer a prime opportunity to capture significant market share in the coming six months,” he said. “A lot of software providers shut down to make the transition so there is growth happening there. There is a new demand now with lots of bigger services and even smaller services wanting to make the most from their software.”

Mr Woodland said the changes had brought challenges.

“We have been scaling up quite rapidly with lots of new team members on board.

“Every single family is going through the Childcare Subsidy Scheme changes at the moment and they are finding it hard to get information from Centrelink and the government so we have opened up our phone lines.”

Overseas growth

Xplor employs 60 staff in Melbourne and has already launched in the UK with three staff there and around 60 childcare and school services signed up.

The startup has a team of 10 in the United States with “a few services” signed up there.

AirTree Venture’s co-founder Daniel Petre said he was excited by Xplor’s growth.

“We are delighted to add more backing to this outstanding business,” he said. “Xplor is a world class product developed by a group that deeply understands and cares for childcare centres, their staff, and the parents who put their trust in these centres.”