Nicholas Mirisis is the CEO of HomeTown Ticketing, where he spearheads innovative digital solutions to streamline event management and fundraising for educational institutions. With over two decades of experience in the educational technology sector, Mirisis has consistently demonstrated a robust commitment to enhancing educational environments through strategic innovation.

His career began at Dude Solutions, formerly known as both SchoolDude and Brightly, where his leadership was instrumental in transforming the company from a small team of 30 employees and $1 million in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) to a major player with over 750 employees and $100 million in revenue. This period marked significant growth and established his reputation as a strategic visionary. In June 2022, Siemens Smart Infrastructure (SI) acquired Brightly for $1.575B, after achieving $160M ARR.

Following his success at Dude Solutions, Mirisis served as Chief Revenue Officer at SamCart and GoCanvas, where he played a pivotal role in accelerating their growth. At SamCart, he tripled the company’s ARR to $30 million, and at GoCanvas, he doubled the ARR to $46 million, showcasing his ability to drive revenue and capitalize on market opportunities. In June 2024, GoCanvas announced it was being acquired by the Nemetschek Group for around a 11.5x multiple on 2023 ARR of $67M, or well over $700 million.

At HomeTown Ticketing, Mirisis has been at the forefront of revolutionizing event management for schools, ensuring that educational institutions can efficiently manage events and retain all fundraising proceeds. His partnership with Schoolfundr exemplifies his dedication to supporting schools by maximizing resources directed towards educational programs.

Beyond EdTech, Mirisis is an Operating Partner at Fulcrum Venture Group, where he leverages his expertise to foster the development of technologies crucial for national defense and security. His dual focus on education and national security highlights his versatility and strategic acumen.

Mirisis’s career is distinguished by his commitment to leveraging technology for positive societal impact, driving innovations that enhance both educational and national defense landscapes.

Can you tell us about your journey in the EdTech sector and how it led you to your current role as CEO of HomeTown Ticketing?

My journey in the EdTech sector began at Dude Solutions, previously known as SchoolDude. I spent several years there, helping to grow the company from a small team of 30 with $1 million in ARR to over 750 employees and more than $100 million in revenue. This experience gave me a deep understanding of the educational environment and the importance of technology in enhancing school operations. I often call SchoolDude my formative career experience, as it was here that I fell in love with the intersection of the  mission and “business” of education, and saw first-hand how vital it was for educational institutions to have the same powerful tools as the private sector, to help solve their daily challenges, which directly impacted the health, safety and quality of the learning environment.

I look back now and realize how incredibly fortunate I was to join and be in the first 30 employees at SchoolDude, and to participate in the wild and exciting ride from $1M of ARR to >$100M. We expanded from a boot-strapped, small team, solely focused on public K-12 facilities, to conquer adjacent buyer problems in business, energy, automation, technology, transportation, event and athletic management – as well as to expand to adjacent markets, first higher education, then private and independent schools, followed by local and county government. One of the seminal lessons was approaching all major decisions with a new mindset – to accelerate the level of impact while compressing the time for it to occur. Acceleration of results, compression of time is a hallmark of the scalable system that I’ve taken with me to the journeys of GoCanvas, SamCart and now HomeTown. My roles at SamCart and GoCanvas further refined my skills in driving growth and innovation. These cumulative experiences naturally led me to HomeTown Ticketing, where I am passionate about using technology to streamline event management and fundraising for educational institutions.

What attracted you to the field of educational technology initially?

The potential to make a tangible impact on education is what drew me to EdTech. I have always been passionate about leveraging technology to solve real-world problems, and education is an area where improvements can have profound and lasting effects on students and communities. The ability to enhance operational efficiencies and improve learning outcomes through innovative solutions is incredibly rewarding.

How has HomeTown Ticketing evolved under your leadership?

The team at HomeTown is the foundation of our success and I’m thrilled to play a small part. We love working for a mission-oriented company that helps mission-driven customers. Ultimately, HomeTown wants to hire and retain every great, customer-focused/customer-obsessed employee, who craves seeing what they do on a daily basis and the impact it has on students and their academic, athletic and extra-circular passions.

From a team perspective, we have evolved to focus more on empowerment and strategic focus. It’s important for us to have a clear strategy and align team members to achieve it – and for us, it is about serving the event management needs of our educational customers. Projects and initiatives that fell outside of the educational sector are no longer occupying our time or investment.

We have focused more product and engineering resources to introduce new innovations and value-areas to our schools and obsess every-day with how we simplify the event communications and revenue challenges our schools face. And we have focused on a select group of preferred partners, who are delivering innovations to help schools with these communication and revenue challenges, like our 2023 partnership with Schoolfundr. By partnering with Schoolfundr, we ensure that schools retain all their fundraising proceeds, which directly benefits educational programs. This focus on efficiency and community support has positioned us as leaders in the EdTech space.

Can you explain the significance of the partnership with Schoolfundr and how it benefits schools?

The partnership with Schoolfundr is pivotal because it allows schools to keep 100% of their fundraising proceeds. I can talk about this topic for days because it hits at the heart of, how are EdTech companies solving a financial crisis the schools are facing – while also living into their purpose of helping students.

Since becoming CEO, I’ve traveled in-person to more than 70 districts and virtually met with more than 200 ADs and Activity Directors; Nearly every conversation of the last 6 months has started the same way – “we have a major budget crisis”. Some are faced with budget/planning gaps from the expiration of the federal CoVid stimulus money, others are experiencing demographic shifts post Covid as parents consider new locales for work and work/life balance, and the vast majority are trying to solve the competing factors of expectations for their programs (by students and parents) continue to increase while budgets stagnate or decrease.

The innovations in online school fundraising will lead to a revolution in EdTech in the next several years. The budget pressures I mentioned above will not disappear overnight and ADs will be forced to find new sources of sustainable (year over year, guaranteed) revenue, or make sacrifices to their offerings, which ultimately harm students and their future life goals.

Annually, schools raise billions to enhance their budgets and provide better resources for students and there is a movement toward digital fundraising that aligns with broader societal trends towards digital engagement. My prediction is, the revolution occurring within online school fundraising has the potential to return MILLIONS of hard-earned dollars, that parents, family members, friends and community supporters generously give to support athletic and school fundraisers – and put that money back into the programs that benefit students, instead of in the pockets of private companies.

Every dollar saved on third-party fees is a dollar that supports a student’s education, extracurricular activities, or essential school supplies. It’s not merely fundraising; it’s an investment in the future of every student who attends a public school in America.

And, we’ve seen an evolution in this space before. Students a decade ago would go door to door selling cookies, candy, discount cards, or mulch, mattresses and Christmas trees. This old school way was a combination of security threat, inventory chaos, and wasted time for coaches – and at the end of the day, the programs gave up 80% of the funds, and only got to keep 20% for all that work. That was eventually replaced with online fundraising, where students would ask for a donation online, and in this model, the programs lose 20%-30% of the funds raised, with those fees going to the private fundraising companies – and these private companies earned significant revenues over this last decade.

The reason we partnered with a platform like Schoolfundr is because they are the only EdTech company providing a fee-free fundraising environment that allows schools and students to keep all the funds they raise, minus payment processing fees.

I say revolution as the conversations are now coming into the open about how much these private companies have been taking from parents and the community over these last 10 years. Earlier this year, I was asked to present at a large FL district, during their monthly all Athletic Director meeting. I shared what was new at HomeTown, the additional free resources we were providing on marketing and websites/communications solutions, and then discussed our partnership with Schoolfundr and their model of schools keeping everything they raise, minus the standard Stripe processing fee of 3%. Unbeknownst to me, sitting in the meeting was a member of the School Board. The School Board member asked me why we partnered with Schoolfundr and how their model works, and I replied we shared common values to help and partner with our schools – and to help them save time and money. And the Schoolfundr model aligned the mission and values of the donor, school and company – and if the donor loved that Sf was providing this solution, they could leave an optional tip to support the company. The School Board member turned to the AD and asked what company they use and what that model was; The AD shared the provider and that the school keeps between 75% and 80%. The School Board member asked why they use the vendor, and the answer was b/c the sales rep delivers doughnuts to the monthly meeting. And instantly, the School Board member said, “Wouldn’t we rather have the 97% and tens of thousands of more dollars, instead of free doughnuts.”

To our team, we see the current financial stress school districts are facing as the largest challenge – and our partnership with Schoolfundr allows us to better invest dollars back in the programs, school to support education and students. It’s the best win/win.

Beyond education, you have a role in national defense as an Operating Partner at Fulcrum Venture Group. How do you balance these responsibilities?

My first and primary responsibility is to HomeTown. As a student of history, I love studying the intersection of democratic values, freedom, self-determination and self-governance, and our economic and democratic freedoms (and security) are inextricably linked to our defense security. In evolving conversations over many years with Andrew Bartholomew (Managing Director of Fulcrum Venture Group) I heard his vision to build a new investment model that focuses specifically on dual-use military technologies and accelerating innovation at these startups. When he approached me in 2023 to take on a role, I jumped at the chance to play a small role in helping mentor companies and guide investments in technologies that enhance national security. While EdTech and defense sectors are distinct, the common thread is my focus on leveraging technology to drive innovation and efficiency. Both roles benefit from my strategic insights and leadership experience, allowing me to contribute meaningfully to each field.

How do your experiences in EdTech influence your approach to your work in national defense, and vice versa?

My experiences in EdTech have honed my ability to identify and implement scalable technological solutions, which is invaluable in the defense sector. Similarly, my work in national defense, where precision and security are paramount, has reinforced the importance of robust, reliable technology, as well as redundant systems to ensure mission-critical business continuity. This cross-pollination of ideas and strategies enhances my approach to both fields, ensuring that we are always at the forefront of innovation and effectiveness.

What are some key initiatives you have implemented at HomeTown Ticketing to foster educational excellence?

At HomeTown Ticketing, we have implemented several key initiatives to foster educational excellence. These include developing more intuitive digital platforms for event management, enhancing our fundraising tools to maximize school revenues, and expanding our customer support services to ensure seamless user experiences. Additionally, our focus on community partnerships and retaining fundraising proceeds allows schools to reinvest in their educational programs, directly benefiting students and educators.

How do you see the role of technology in education evolving in the next decade?

Technology in education will continue to evolve rapidly, with a greater emphasis on personalized learning, data-driven decision-making, and integrated digital platforms. We will see more advanced tools for virtual and augmented reality, enhancing the learning experience and making education more accessible. Furthermore, technology will play a crucial role in improving administrative efficiencies, enabling educators to focus more on teaching and less on operational challenges.

What advice would you give to aspiring leaders in the EdTech sector?

My advice to aspiring leaders in the EdTech sector is to remain passionate about your mission and always prioritize the needs of the educational community and the partners you/we serve. Stay adaptable and open to new technologies, and focus on creating solutions that address real challenges faced by schools and students. Building strong partnerships and fostering a collaborative environment are also key to driving meaningful innovation and achieving long-term success.

Can you share a success story that highlights the impact of HomeTown Ticketing on a specific educational institution?

We have so many remarkable customer success stories, it is difficult to pick just one. So let me share two.

First, we recently featured Mason Harper, the assistant athletic director of Medina High School in Ohio. On our recent webinar series, Mason shared that when he started organizing his athletic events he noticed challenges with cash handling, volunteer recruitment, game day logistics, concessions, and coordinating social media outreach. It got so bad that at one point he felt that it would be impossible to pull off a successful event. So, he, and Medina High School partnered with HomeTown and we were able to remove all headaches, saving him time and saving the school money. We love helping schools and districts that are struggling with inefficient event management and fundraising processes. After implementing HomeTown’s platform, they see a significant increase in event attendance and revenue from ticket sales and the resources they save can be redirected to other critical needs.

The second are David Smith, Head Soccer Coach at Hough High School (NC) and Lori DeMarcus, Athletic Director at Hough High School (NC). They recently took advantage of our strategic partnership with Schoolfundr and shared their success story in a recent webinar to fellow Athletic Directors and Coaches. When asked why Hough High School picked Schoolfundr, David said: “EVERY penny we raise, we want to go back to student athletes,” and Lori said “We KEPT $50,000 of the funds we raised, that is huge for us.”

We want every school in America to keep every penny they raise from their fundraising efforts.

What are your future goals for HomeTown Ticketing and your broader career aspirations?

Our future goals for HomeTown Ticketing include expanding our platform to reach more educational institutions, continuously improving our offerings, and forging new partnerships with companies who share our vision for supporting the schools and districts we partner with. We firmly believe that by serving them, we can build a healthy and strong business that this industry can rely on for decades.

As for me personally, no future career aspirations. HomeTown is my dream job as I’m working with smart, passionate people, who want to create impact in their communities they call home, and that is tremendously rewarding.


Connect With Nicholas Mirisis: