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Cincinnati Startups Abre and Pay Theory Announce Partnership to Transform Education

April 12, 2021 GMT
Cincinnati Startups Abre and Pay Theory Announce Partnership
Cincinnati Startups Abre and Pay Theory Announce Partnership

CINCINNATI, April 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Abre.io (Abre), K–12′s leading administration platform provider, and Pay Theory, a Family Tech company that provides payment solutions for school districts, childcare, and families, announce their partnership to help them better achieve their shared mission of breaking down socioeconomic and technical barriers to education.


Abre is a K–12 platform comprised of education and community apps that, when grouped, form solutions to streamline experiences for all stakeholders. For example, its Plans App allows schools to develop education plans for students and professional plans for teachers. Abre’s new Payments App, powered by Pay Theory, will give families and partners a financially inclusive and secure payments experience that is fully integrated with student records and other district systems to increase automation and efficiency. Through this partnership, Abre is going to be able to offer school districts across the country the opportunity to give its families and partners a financially inclusive and secure payments experience.

The COVID–19 pandemic has laid bare the educational disparities and issues facing families from lower-income and underbanked backgrounds. With Abre and Pay Theory, schools and school districts have a simple solution with which to bring holistic inclusion to their families.

“Together we believe we are creating a better experience for all stakeholders,” says Eric Fulkert, Pay Theory co-founder and chief technology officer. “Abre and Pay Theory are poised to change how schools and families interact about money. Abre has a vision for changing how schools work, and we are excited to be part of that vision.”

The Abre / Pay Theory partnership was a natural fit from the outset. Both fixtures of the Cincinnati startup scene, the two companies share a vision to improve education administration and accessibility for everyone.

The integrated platform will help families of K–12 students to facilitate education-related payments and other household management functions. Schools will see reduced funding gaps from unpaid fees. In all, Abre and Pay Theory’s joint tools will create a digital educational administration ecosystem for all parties, bridging connections between schools, districts, and families.


“We’re excited to partner with Pay Theory as it helps us get even closer to delivering on our audacious goal of better supporting student success by removing fragmented experiences to all stakeholders in and out of school,” says Abre CEO James Stoffer.

Using a credit/debit card, checking account details, or Pay Theory’s digitized cash payment tool, families can access the Abre / Pay Theory platform to make school-related payments such as field trips, athletic participation, and tests such as the Advanced Placement exams safely and securely.

Families that prefer to make payments in cash can select that as an option in the platform during the checkout process. They will then receive a barcode in the Abre platform with encoded information unique to their transaction. They can then take that barcode to one of more than 65,000 retailers throughout the US, including Dollar General and Walgreens. After the cashier scans the code, the user can complete the transaction in cash. The Pay Theory platform executes the transaction immediately; with Abre recording receipt of payment for students and families.

School districts and families alike get the benefit of having accounts in one place. Abre also supports partners outside of school and, as such, will be able to facilitate payments and donations back into the district. The platform can help power and manage vital programs such as corporate matching, school fundraisers and carnivals, managing cash functions such as raffle tickets and silent auction bids.

Some school systems see as much as 30 percent of school fees going uncollected.

By paving a way for the roughly one third of US families that are underbanked, school districts can help close this bookkeeping gap. Pay Theory’s digitized cash payment tool means a safer, more secure school for teachers and students that comes with a cash-free campus, but with the financial inclusivity that comes with meeting everyone’s needs. In addition, the Abre platform provides integrations with existing school management and accounting systems, creating a harmonized platform that benefits students, families, schools, and districts.

“Abre is in a unique position to change how schools manage parent relationships. Abre brings the ability to unify access to all the platforms in a school, as well as a CRM to help schools manage and nurture these connections,” Fulkert continues. “Our partnership with Abre will help schools increase financial inclusion through better communication about money, and ease of access for banked and unbanked families alike.”

Fulkert, a 15-year-plus veteran of the EdTech industry, had known about and respected Abre as a K–12 administration platform, as well as has a strong working relationship with Chris Rose, its co-founder and chief technology officer. The timing of Pay Theory’s minimum viable product completion along with Abre’s onboarding earlier this year of Stoffer as its new CEO — who has more than 15 years in scaling EdTech companies in his own right — the timing for the integration was optimal.

“Given Eric’s deep experience, Pay Theory immediately earned our trust by proving the team gets the K–12 space,” says Stoffer. “The various use cases Pay Theory is already supporting and other ones they are building are unique among payments solutions.”

To learn more about Abre, please visit abre.io. To learn more about Pay Theory, please visit paytheory.com.

About Abre
Abre.io provides a leading education management platform that delivers software solutions designed to be easily adopted and used by everyone in the learning community. Administrators and teachers can spend more time focusing on student growth and less time on navigating multiple software platforms. Families and community partners increase their engagement with schools through easy access to the information they need most. Learn more at abre.io.

About Pay Theory
Pay Theory is a family tech company that breaks down barriers between vital service providers and the families they serve through a platform of simple, responsive and impactful financial solutions. For schools and other family service providers, we build tools to help them save time by integrating with their systems and processes. For parents, we offer cash access, ease of use, and simple ways to see and manage balances. We envision a world where cashless schools and underbanked families coexist, saving everyone time. To help build our vision, our team has a background in EdTech and payments. Our goal is to make the difficult conversations around school fees simple and painless. Learn more at PayTheory.com.

Contact: Anne Szustek Talbot, anne@bx3.io

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SOURCE Pay Theory