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“It was down to an accident that the people that printed our exhibition signs did them double-sided. We could just flip them around and they all became Evouchers signs rather than Wonde signs,” says Peter Dabrowa, CEO of the school data management platform Wonde.

Dabrowa is describing the successful launch of Wonde’s sub-brand Evouchers to the US market via an edtech conference in New Orleans. A happy accident with the printing of signage meant the company could double down on its voucher proposition when it proved successful with representatives from US schools.

Since launching in 2015, Wonde’s core proposition in the UK is its software which enables over 25,000 schools to manage, maintain and control their data and their relationships with third-party applications.

Its voucher proposition, Evouchers, was designed and built during the pandemic to help schools to identify children eligible for school meals and enable their parents to access supermarket vouchers during lockdowns, isolation or holidays. Evouchers’ technology is built on the back of the existing Wonde infrastructure. It seems like vouchers will be the key to growth in the US and Australia - two new territories for the company. “Things evolve - you can go into new territories where you try new products and things aren’t quite what you expect. So you have to pivot quite quickly to make it work,” says Dabrowa.

In the last 12 months, Evouchers has started to work with housing associations in the UK to provide vouchers to tenants and is also working with local governments on projects to provide clothing to refugees. “The voucher piece alone could double in size quite easily, even in this country, there’s scope to provide new solutions to customers,” says Dabrowa.

“We’ve been asking ourselves how do we become more efficient? Instead of increasing headcount, we’re thinking, how do we make processes better for us and our customers?”

With the launch of Evouchers and the acquisition of cyber security specialist Secure Schools in August 2022, Wonde is building out a portfolio of tech-enabled brands.

To prepare for further growth and to support its international expansion, Wonde has been undergoing an internal restructuring to improve efficiencies and is launching a new unifying top company under which its portfolio of brands will sit. The reorganisation of the team is also needed to support the incredible growth in headcount the company has experienced. At the start of the pandemic, Wonde was around 30 people, now it has over 140 employees.

Dabrowa says “We’ve been asking ourselves how do we become more efficient? Instead of increasing headcount, we’re thinking, how do we make processes better for us and our customers? Let’s give the customers access to what they need, rather than making them come to us and ask for it.”

Efficiency is particularly important for the company because, since February, it has shifted to a four-day work week. “It’s helped massively with retention and hiring,” says Dabrowa. He explains that the shift, though worthwhile, is not without challenges: “ It’s great for the employee. It’s really important that they get a whole day back in their life to do whatever they want. The four-day working week also brought challenges as you can imagine. We’ve introduced some key working principles to help reiterate that we’re doing four working days now, and that brings a commitment to manage time effectively, to work efficiently and focus each day you’re in the office. And help achieve this, we have more accountability, more targets, and key project milestones.”

With further expansion in the US and Australia planned, alongside the restructuring of the company, the team at Wonde have plenty to fit into a short week, though it’s clear they’ve not lost sight of how they got here. “We love creating products and things that are frictionless and easy for customers to onboard. And there isn’t enough stuff out in the market, especially in the education sector, that help schools make their everyday life simpler” says Dabrowa.