Editor’s note: The following is part of Startland News’ ongoing coverage of the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Kansas City’s entrepreneur community, as well as how innovation is helping to drive a new normal in the ecosystem. Click here to follow related stories as they develop.
Homebound students taking advantage of Boddle’s gamified edtech platform have helped the Kansas City startup level up its user base by more than 1,665 percent, Edna Martinson said Tuesday, announcing $100,000 in additional funding from AT&T to support the distance learning offering.
“Over the past few weeks we saw a surge in our user-base — 1,700 to 30,000-plus in a matter of weeks — and have had the opportunity to talk with over a thousand educators and parents on our site,” said Martinson, co-founder of Boddle with husband Clarence Tan. “It was clear that, with school closures, they needed tools to help them keep track of their students’ academic progress remotely while keeping them engaged (and the game interface seems to be really helping to keep kid’s attention).”
Boddle provides adaptive math practice and assessments through a fun game — critical to families facing Stay at Home orders and school shutdowns. Click here to learn more about its free offering during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A member of the 2019 AT&T Aspire accelerator cohort, the Kansas City-based startup was among seven alumni of the accelerator to be awarded a share of $1.2 million in contributions from AT&T’s Distance Learning and Family Connections fund.
“With this investment, Boddle will be free for teachers and parents through the end of the school year,” Martinson said. “The funding also allows Boddle to adapt our platform to support parents as they take on the role of educators at home. We’re also expanding features that make the platform accessible to ESL learners.”
Click here to learn more about why Boddle was selected for Startland News’ list of Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2020.
The fresh $100,000 award brings Boddle’s total funding from AT&T to $250,000 to date — $475,000 in overall funding. Other former accelerator companies earning awards from the fund include CareerVillage, CommonLit, LiftEd, ListenWise, LitLab and TalkingPoints.
Boddle is continuing to look for schools and parents researching online tools, especially in Kansas City, Martinson said. The startup is currently running its platform on the web (laptops and chromebooks), but is working on developing its app version for mobile and ipad users.
Click here to sign up for Boddle’s free platform.
“This need extends to parents as well, as they search for something to not only entertain their kids during quarantine but also educate them,” Martinson said. “Lots of parents are new to homeschooling, so being able to support them as they transition to the role of at-home educator is something we are happy to do.”
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.