“With one platform, you can run everything that you do operationally, digitally.”
Voted in 2014 as the “most promising startup of the year,” Permission Click is a novel online solution to a problem faced by every teacher who has ever lost a Sunday night buried in half-completed permission forms for the next class trip to the museum.
Aimed at schools, daycares, and community groups, Permission Click dares to simplify the long-standing and rather archaic process of registration and fee collection for events.
Permission Click’s service is as simple as it is intelligent: a system of digital permission slips and payment collection made easy. Users can build, send and collect permission slips and fees from parents in a matter of seconds on any device, from any location.
Chris Johnson is the co-founder and CEO of Winnipeg-based Permission Click. Having started the company in 2013, Johnson has grown the user base from the outset, using a decidedly organic approach. He now employs nine people full-time plus a few part-timers and now has customers in almost every US state and Canadian province.
“We followed lean start-up as close to a T as we could: learn, listen, build, iterate quickly, get messy, take feedback, blow it up, do it again,” says Johnson. “We did that over and over until we found something that we thought was repeatable.”
The genesis of the concept came innocently enough through the experience of one of Permission Click’s co-founders, whose spouse is a teacher. As with most successful start-ups, a moment of clarity appeared in the form of an apparent unmet need.
“You should be having dinner with your family, but instead, you’re phoning parents to get permission slips in, counting up all the money at that teacher’s house, checking off Excel sheets,” says Johnson. “There was just so little accountability, so much pain and suffering, having to reach out to everyone…and that’s sort of where the idea came from. We said ‘Hey, there’s gotta be a way to do this online.’”
The platform that emerged from this evolution aims to ease the administration burden related to a host of other organizational functions, such as fundraising and school lunch programs.
Perhaps its most significant value concerns accountability: users experience increased compliance and it eliminates the possibility of unscrupulous behaviour, since all monetary transactions are electronic and logged. No more sticky fingers in the proverbial till!
In many ways, this is a platform that is only limited by an end user’s imagination. The number of applications involving consent forms and registration seems virtually infinite.
The best part about Permission Click’s service is that it’s scalable for any entity: it can be deployed into a school in less than 5 minutes without the need for complicated integration or IT support from districts.
Featured recently on CTV Winnipeg, Johnson’s work was also covered in a recent documentary called Innovation Alley (incidentally, that is also the name of the district where Permission Click has its headquarters, which is something akin to Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District). You can watch the documentary trailer here.
Johnson is dialled into the startup scene in central Canada, as one of the founders and key supporters of Startup Winnipeg, which helps connect and incubate entrepreneurial ventures.
What does the future hold for Permission Click? Johnson sounds like a man on a mission who is certain that the best is yet to come. “We’re about to go raise another round of capital to power the next phase of our growth,” says Johnson. “I can’t wait to be in your kid’s school to make your life easier. You’ll look like the hero at the PTA meeting where you can say ‘Hey, there’s a free tool that can do all this stuff.’””
Visit Permission Click to learn more about the offering and to see how it can help you focus more on the things that you do best and less on shuffling paperwork.
Chis Johnson was recently featured on CFIB’s My StartUp blog. Read his compelling interview on the value of mentorship, including how it can contribute to your professional and personal success.