Glimpse K12 Unveils New Tool to Help Schools ‘Bundle’ and Save on Tech...

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Glimpse K12 Unveils New Tool to Help Schools ‘Bundle’ and Save on Tech Purchases

By Wade Tyler Millward     Apr 1, 2019

Glimpse K12 Unveils New Tool to Help Schools ‘Bundle’ and Save on Tech Purchases

At an education conference in Alabama two years ago, Susan Patterson, superintendent of Cullman City Schools, learned about a tool that helped her figure out pockets of superfluous spending in her district.

With the software, called AIM, Patterson learned that some of the licenses purchased for the 3,000-plus students in her district, located between Huntsville and Birmingham, went unused. “We had a [software] platform for remediation and realized it was used for a smaller group of students than we thought,” she said. “We had too many licenses, so we cut some.” The money saved went to more Chromebooks for fifth- and sixth-grade students in the district.

AIM is developed by Glimpse K12, a startup that wants to help school districts manage their spending more efficiently, and align investments and purchases with returns on student outcomes.

Other companies have also shed light on the gap between what technology is purchased and what is used. A report from Brightbytes, a startup that provides competing software, found that many app licenses that are purchased often go unused. A survey from LearnTrials, another edtech company, came to similar conclusions.

Now, after helping spot areas where they may be spending on things that aren’t used, Glimpse K12 wants to make sure that school officials get the best deal on purchases. Today, the company is launching a new tool, dubbed “Bundle,” that shows what other schools and districts pay per student on specific products and services from vendors. Users can also set up alerts to learn about group buying opportunities for specific items and services. The idea is that buying in bulk can save money.

For school leaders, Bundle offers “a real opportunity to stretch dollars to solve more problems,” Glimpse K12’s co-founder and CEO Adam Pearson said.

Besides making purchasing more efficient, Bundle aims to bring more transparency to the prices that schools and districts pay for the same product. The sticker tag for the same product can vary widely—as much as 40 percent in some cases, according to the Technology for Education Consortium, a nonprofit that advocates for more transparency in school purchasing.

The pricing information surfaced through Bundle will also come in handy as districts negotiate future contracts with vendors. Patterson, the Alabama superintendent, is piloting the tool and believes it can help shave costs by 30 percent.

Glimpse will launch Bundle with the hundreds of schools it works sometime this quarter. Bundle members can invite vendors to on the platform, which currently has about 2,000 products in its database. Schools can create “bundles” for any product they plan to purchase and buy with other Glimpse customers to save on cost.

According to Pearson, Bundle will cost districts about $3,000 a year, depending on the number of licenses. Schools must opt in to share purchasing information on Bundle, which syncs with their financial accounting systems to work.

Patterson believes that school districts, even those in close proximity, have had difficulty sharing spending information with each other. Some of that may have come from geographical rivalries where districts want to find the best tools for the best price and don’t talk to each other about the true cost of products and services. She said she hopes to use Bundle to partner with a nearby 10,000-student district and save on vendor contracts.

Glimpse K12, now with 10 full-time employees, graduated from the Y Combinator accelerator last year. Today it counts users in hundreds of schools, mostly concentrated in the Southeast, and has raised $2 million to date.

 

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