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#030: Phil Neal


28 mins

“Insecurity drives improvement” with Phil Neal

In this episode, we had the amazing opportunity to chat with one of (if not THE) most prolific EdTech entrepreneurs in the UK: Phil Neal.

For any listeners who went to school in the UK in the last 30 years, there’s a very good chance you’ve used or been exposed to Phil’s software. Phil is the brains behind the SIMS Management Information System, used in over 80% of (or 20,000!) schools in the UK. It’s reached many 10s of millions of users, and also has an international presence across 50 countries around the globe.

As a teacher in his earlier years, Phil, like many entrepreneurs, had an ‘itch of his own to scratch’ - the outcome, a system that soon caught the attention of multiple school groups and councils, and some years later, the attention of Capita who eventually acquired SIMS.

To scale any business to that size is unbelievable impressive, to do it in a market as challenging as the UK education sector is even more impressive.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Scaling and huge growth

  • Finding the right partner for acquisition

  • Appetite for risk and spotting opportunities

  • Focusing on the benefits you’re providing

  • Smart pricing strategies

  • Picking the right founding team

  • And as always, plenty more…

Links mentioned in the episode:

Phil's Twitter

Phil's LinkedIn

SIMS Twitter

SIMS Website

Department for International Trade

Department for International Development

Accounts Lab

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