This week, Engrade put the finishing touches on an emblematic story in the world of education startups. In 2003, high school student Bri Holt decided he’d heard enough griping from classmates (and teachers) over the lack of a quick, easy way to view their grades online. So, like any budding web developer, he decided to build that simple, online gradebook for his high school.

While the product found a number of eager early customers among teachers and classmates, adoption wasn’t exactly explosive. So, as it goes, Holt soon graduated and moved on to other pursuits. Meanwhile, left to its own devices, the gradebook slowly and deliberately continued to attract frustrated teachers looking for an online grading solution. So, thinks kept snowballing.

By 2010, nearly seven years later, its user base had grown sizable enough that Holt felt justified to return to developing the product full-time. He decided to officially turn…

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