I never expected the powerful words of a private girls school principal would come to mind in the final stages of a $140 million business acquisition.
In July of this year my company, ASX listed Family Zone, was one of three suitors to acquire Smoothwall - one of the world’s largest online safety providers, supporting some 38% of UK schools with online safety solutions.
We’d so far progressed through a competitive acquisition process managed by a global bank and we were up against aggressive, and much larger, US-based and VC-backed competitors.
Clearly the underdog in the race, Family Zone was half the size of Smoothwall.
As we finalised our bid I recalled a balmy evening a few years back at a school hall. I was in front of an anxious 300 teenagers and their variously eager and annoyed parents, all mandated to participate in a cyber safety event announcing the launch of Family Zone at the school.
One parent grabbed the mic and complained “I don’t have time for this”.
The acting principal walked to the lectern and courageously and calmly responded “I think our girls are worth it”. You could have heard a pin drop.
The case for schools, parents and governments to take an active role in online safety is more than compelling. Today:
In fact across every single measure of cyber safety, things are going the wrong way. To paraphrase the acting principal: this challenge is worth it.
This is what has driven our team to develop the world’s first universal cyber safety platform, it’s what compels us to grow in scale, influence and impact and it’s what compelled us to acquire Smoothwall.
As it turns out, Smoothwall were looking for more than just the highest bidder to hand the reins of their company to.
We won the competitive bid for Smoothwall because we continue to put the safety of children at the heart of everything we do. We don’t shy away from helping schools and parents solve this complex problem.
With this acquisition, we now have the most compelling portfolio of K-12 online safety and parental control products globally. We have the leading products in compliance & filtering, student monitoring, classroom management, data analytics, case management and more.
The merger of Family Zone and Smoothwall cements us as one of the largest online safety providers globally, now supporting more than 18,000 schools and some 9 million students globally. We are welcoming 120 talented, experienced and similarly mission-driven professionals from Smoothwall into our family.
We do it because we know our kids are worth it.
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