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Ouriginal, previously named Urkund, helps over three million students achieve quality and maintain integrity in their academic work. With Procuritas as a majority shareholder, the EdTech firm has become more capable of achieving its growth ambitions.
Ouriginal’s story begins in a Swedish classroom during the late 90s. Today the company has more than 5,000 customers in nearly 80 countries around the globe.
“We see it as our mission to promote original thinking, providing a tool that supports academic fairness and helps improve efficiency in education,” says Andreas Ohlson, CEO at Ouriginal.
The Procuritas owned company supports academic institutions, secondary schools, and corporations with their institutional effectiveness – by delivering a fully automated system for checking text originality and preventing plagiarism.
“More people take plagiarism seriously and see it as a key part of academic integrity. As the need grows, we grow with it,” Ohlson continues.
His first contact with Ouriginal was as early as 2004 when the company was a small IT startup with big ambitions. Since 2007 Ohlson has had the role of CEO in the company.
“I spend a lot of time on our long-term strategy. In collaboration with the Procuritas team I make sure we strive for constant improvement, grow effectively and that we have the resources to realize our goals,” he says.
In 2018 Ouriginal became a Procuritas company – enabling an acceleration in the development of the company and taking the business to the next level.
More capable of achieving the company’s growth ambitions
In two years Ouriginal has increased its number of employees from 10 to 50. In early 2020, the company announced the formation of its North American operations to expand its global operations.
“What is the difference between the company now and before Procuritas invested in it?”
Ohlson explains how the organization has become more capable of achieving the company’s growth ambitions.
“We have always focused on growth. But now we have become more professional; we have brought in more skilled people and invested more of our profits in the development of the company. When the owners are willing to take more risk, we move at a faster pace,” he says.
In addition to meetings with the board, Ohlson meets the team from Procuritas regularly to discuss improvements and the status quo.
“They support us in separating what is important from what is less important. We discuss everything from operational issues and reporting to product development. They really put a lot of effort into understanding the business,” Ohlson says.
He also claims that Procuritas has been a significant contributor to setting out the overall strategic plan and providing clear targets and responsibilities.
“They have further supported us in acquiring a smaller competitor which strengthens our European footprint as well as our technical backbone,” Ohlson says.
Winning the global market with a new partner: —-
It took about a year of analysis and exchange of ideas from the time Procuritas contacted the previous owners until Ouriginal got their new majority shareholder.
“I was very involved in the last four to five months. A process like that will always take time and generate more work for the organization, but I have to say Procuritas contributed a lot. They ran the process so that we could focus on our regular business,” Ohlson says.
He had no previous experience working with private equity funds, so his knowledge of how his new everyday work life was going to be was limited.
He elaborates on the fact that private equity funds often are criticized for having a short-term approach and focus too much on the financials.
“Their approach in our discussions and their due diligence before the change of ownership made me sure that a partnership was right. I really feel Procuritas put a lot of effort into understanding our product and how we would be able to win the market in the long term – which in the end is the most important thing,” Ohlson says.
Further support will be key to a continued growth journey
Ouriginal now has a stable annual revenue growth between 30 and 35 percent. The goal is to keep up the growth rate and capture a larger part of the global market, focusing particularly on the markets in the United States and Europe.
“Procuritas’ support has been, is and will be vital to continue our growth journey and building a great company. We have grown a lot and will keep on doing so. We truly believe in our platform. It is state of the art, scalable and has enormous potential,” Ohlson says.
Ohlson acknowledges the challenge of leading an organization growing at such a high pace. At the same time, he is certain that being a part of this adventure is perceived as rewarding for many of his colleagues.
“Our employees find it exciting to get the opportunity to build a global EdTech company. There are not that many ambitious companies in the Nordics with a geographical and technological scope like Ouriginal,” Ohlson says.
The Ouriginal investment