Remind101.com is an ed-tech startup using an old parenting trick to get kids to study — take something they love (like texting), and turn it to your advantage. The company announced today that it has raised $3.5 million in funding.
Remind101 gives teachers a safe way to send text messages to students and stay in touch with parents. Teachers can send their students reminders, assignment information, and words of encouragement to keep them on track.
“We believe great education is the first step to solving many of the world’s most pressing problems,” the company said on its site. “The connected classroom is rapidly evolving. Remind101 helps innovative teachers take advantage of technology in a way that frees up their time to focus on what they do best: teach.”
Teens send a “mind-boggling” average of 60 texts a day. Texting is a powerful way to communicate with this age group (which is notoriously uncommunicative), but teachers are generally discouraged from text messaging and calling their students, and vice versa.
Remind101 maneuvers around privacy concerns by shielding teachers’ and students’ phone numbers from each other. Messages can be sent to individuals or entire classes, and they can scheduled for later.
The premise is simple, yet smart.
As someone with teaching and education experience, I know first hand how challenging it can be to communicate with students when they are outside of the classroom and how frustrating it can be when they “forget” to do their work.
Furthermore, parents are an important part of any educational plan. Opening up communication between teachers and parents helps to build more comprehensive support networks, which is crucial for struggling students.
There is something to be said for kids learning the organizational and disciplinary skills required to manage their schoolwork rather than relying on text messages for reminders. That said, I would have loved Remind101 as a student and as a teacher.
100 million text messages have been sent to date through Remind101, and the company claims to have signed up about 10% of K-12 teachers nationally. These teachers are messaging more than 6 million students and parents.
The company was founded by brothers Brett and David Kopf. Brett was a disorganized student and often overwhelmed, so David built a tool to send text reminders about assignments. They saw an opportunity to extend this idea to schools around the country and built Remind101.
The Social + Capital Partnership led this first round. Remind101 raised $1 million in seed funding last year with First Round Capital, Naval Ravikant, and others. It is based in San Francisco.