Editor’s note: Startland News selected 10 Kansas City firms to spotlight for its annual Startups to Watch list. The following is one of 2020’s companies. Click here to view the full, ranked list of Startups to Watch.
Education needs an overhaul and Boddle Learning is driving the change from the front of the classroom, declared Edna Martinson.
Elevator pitch: Boddle is a game-based learning app that makes practice and assessments fun for students and easy for teachers in elementary classrooms. The platform utilizes adaptive learning technology to help students who are behind catch up by identifying and addressing gaps in foundational skills, and challenges students who are ahead by providing the right level of rigor to accelerate learning.
• Founders: Clarence Tan, Edna Martinson
• Founding year: 2018
• Amount raised to date: $300,000
• Noteworthy investors: AT&T Aspire
• Programs completed: Sprint Accelerator, AT&T Aspire Accelerator, ECJC Pitch Perfect, LaunchKC, OHUB.KC
• Current employee count: 14 (5 executive team, 9 contracted)
“Its eye-opening to see the need and the ways that we can improve Boddle to create something that teachers would love to use in their classrooms,” explained Martinson, co-founder of Boddle which she’s helped build alongside her husband, Clarence Tan.
Placing practicality above redundancies, Boddle’s strategy for growth is heavy on relationship building, placing the startup ahead of its competitors, explained Tan.
“A teacher was literally like, ‘Hey Clarence, I don’t care about the fancy stuff. I just want to know who is struggling and what they’re struggling on,’” he recalled of the interaction that came as a direct result of Boddle’s presence in area schools.
“Now they choose us over our competitors, because that was the exact information they needed.”
Such a presence with customers has helped Boddle establish itself as an increasingly essential tool in the evolution of the modern education model, Tan continued, adding the strategy is what will carry the company through 2020 as its team grows.
Director of learning and chief technology officer positions are expected to expand as Boddle also works to beef up its sales force ahead of anticipated fund raising, the pair revealed.
“There’s a lot of value that we provide at the individual level, but ultimately it’s about the adoption [of Boddle,],” he said, noting how important exposure to the platform will be for the startup in 2020.
Participation on the AT&T Aspire Accelerator in 2019 — which resulted in more than $100,000 in funding for the startup — will continue to drive momentum for Boddle in 2020, sending Martinson and Tan to SXSW where they will heavily market the startup to educators and continue to perfect their pitch.
Click here to read more about AT&T Aspire’s investment in Boddle.
An additional focus on tech and education conferences as well as continued participation in the OHUB.KC accelerator — which has already netted the startup a $5,000 investment with the potential for $50,000 on the line — are expected to further fuel growth and marketing efforts.
Establishing active partnerships with teacher organizations and schools at the district level will also drive growth for the startup in 2020, with many big conversations underway in Kansas City, the duo revealed.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.