Teens are fervent texters — they send thousands of texts a month and it is their dominant daily mode of communication.
Remind101 channels some of this texting fervor towards improving their performance in school. The company announced today that it has raised $15 million for its free platform that gives teachers a safe way to send text messages to students and stay in touch with parents.
“Remind101 addresses a persistent and frustrating problem faced by teachers every day — finding the most effective channels to help students achieve their full potential,” CEO Brett Kopf told VentureBeat. “Despite entrepreneurs working to build technology solutions for education, educational achievement for our children has not improved. Remind101 empowers oversubscribed teachers without piling on extra work.”
Teachers create a class in Remind101 and students and parents sign up by sending a text message or email. Teachers can send messages to entire classes, individual students, or parents with reminders about assignments, upcoming exams, and words of encouragement. They can also scheduled texts in advance and look back on their communication history.
Remind101 claims that more than 15 percent of the entire K-12 teacher population in the U.S. — more than 600,000 teachers — are using its technology to communicate with more than 10 million students and parents.
A quarter of high school freshman fail to graduate on time in the U.S.. 1.2 million students drop out of high school a year and high school dropouts commit 75 percent of crimes. Almost 2,000 high schools across the U.S. graduate less than 60 percent of their students.
This is a bleak picture.
However studies have shown that frequent teacher-family communication dramatically increases student engagement. A team of researchers from the Harvard Graduate School of Education found that teacher-family communication increased the odds of students completing their homework by 40%, decreased instances where teachers had to redirect students attention to a task by 25%, and increased class participation by 15%.
The challenge is that teachers traditionally do not communicate with their students outside of school due to safety and ethical concerns.
Teachers connecting with their students via text or social media is controversial. A number of scandals in this arena have led to more restrictions on teacher-student communication outside of the classroom, thereby depriving educators of a valuable opportunity.
Remind101 set out to build a system that would provide all the benefits of teachers texting their students, without the concerns.
This second round of funding will be used to build out Remind101′s platform and add premium services. Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers led this round, with participation from existing investors Social + Capital Partnership and First Round Capital.
Remind101 has raised $19.5 million to date.