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Present Pal portal running on a laptop and a tablet

Present Pal Portal

A portal for customers to directly purchase and issue Present Pal licenses

The problem

Prior to this project all licence issuing was a manual process for the team through our old portal. We had to process payments, input email addresses and send welcome emails - leading to dozens of hours wasted every month.

I wanted to refresh our licencing system by allowing our customers to purchase and issue licences whenever they chose. 

A screenshot of the old Present Pal portal showing a user selected the expiry date of a licence

Technical requirements

The first thing I wanted to map out was all the technical interactions required. This project was fairly complex and involved considerations for; user accounts in AWS, email comms through Hubspot, and also our accounting through Xero, Stripe, and GoCardless.

Once I had an idea of all the components that would make up the system, it became a lot easier to start planning the minimum viable product

A diagram showing Hubspot, My SQL, Stripe, Xero, and the app all interacting with the portal

Sketches, mockups

I created some early mockups in Balsamiq so we could quickly put them in front of clients - after all, we were changing the system to put more of the work on their plate as opposed to ours.

The mockups were positively received and we received some great feedback on how they could be further improved to make their bookkeeping easier.

2 wireframe mockups of the Present Pal portal, showing the assign licence and payment pages


One of the key challenges with this project was managing multiple, very different, stakeholders; Engineering was focused on the technical challenges, Marketing on email workflows, and Sales on pricing and account management.

Balancing all these avenues was a good challenge and the end result was a unanimous success. Most importantly, our customers and users were delighted with the final product.

A screenshot of the payment page of the portal, and an example invitation email for a user


We now currently have a portal which sees hundreds of licences purchased and issued per month.  Some customers have reported finding it easier to use than any other ed-tech portal in the market.  

The portal is incredibly flexible and allows us to create multiple licence types, pricing bands, expiry behaviours, and even feature flags. This adaptability and scalability have served us well so far and have been a massive time saver for all members of the team.

2 screenshots of the dashboard, and licence issuing pages of the portal

UK DSA Reseller

Purchasing and issuing on the portal has been amazing for organising invoices and quickly providing students with their software. It is such a step up from the old version.

Your portal is a step above anything else I have used. It takes next to no effort to issue and keep track of hundreds of licences. I honestly can't think of any way it could be improved!

US College Administrator

The new portal is so easy to use. It took me an hour last time I had to issue 100 licences, and this time it took a minute. The loan licence manager makes it so easy to see which students need approving, and which are expiring soon.

US College Administrator

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