Pre-seed funding from Tulsa-based Atento Capital is expected to help accelerate Boddle’s gamified edtech platform amid an ongoing pandemic — but the infusion means the Kansas City startup will move south to work more closely with its new investor.
“Our team is looking forward to the growth and impact that this investment will allow us to achieve as we continue to work toward improving student outcomes,” said Edna Martinson, co-founder of Boddle, noting she and husband/co-founder Clarence Tan plan to find ways to remain active within Kansas City’s innovation scene.
The move is expected Aug. 1.
“Kansas City has been an incredible place to start and build Boddle,” Martinson told Startland News. “The community in KC really does make it a great place to grow and the way entrepreneurs support and cheer each other on here is something we will take with us wherever we go.
Atento’s $350,000 investment is expected to boost product development, go-to-market, grow the team, and further support the thousands of teachers, parents, and students who currently use the platform, the startup said Thursday.
Founded in 2018, Boddle is an innovative, game-based platform that uses adaptive technology to deliver a self-guided learning experience tailored to each student — from addressing gaps in foundational skills to accelerating learning. A dashboard for parents and teachers tracks progress and highlights when intervention is needed.
Click here to learn more about Boddle, which was named one of Startland News’ Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2020.
Boddle officially launched its platform in 2019 — seeing massive upswing in growth this spring as COVID-19 school closures sent parents and teachers scrambling for an at-home tool that captures student attention and gives them actionable data.
Click here to read about how Boddle’s efforts to address COVID-era learning concerns helped land them $100,000 from AT&T.
“We believe education has been moving toward a systematic digitization that has only been exacerbated by COVID’s recent upheaval of how children are learning today,” said Michael Basch, managing partner at Atento Capital. “We see Boddle’s gamification of math and the level of engagement of their tens of thousands of students to exemplify where we see education going in the medium and long term. We could not be more excited to be backing Edna, Clarence and the Boddle Team, and see this as the beginning of a great education technology company to be.”
A rising star in the Kansas City startup ecosystem, Boddle was among five tech companies named finalists in this spring’s OHUB.KC accelerator program — earning $50,000 and an opportunity to pitch at a live showcase in March at SXSW in Austin (though the SXSW event later was adapted to a virtual format when the popular tech, music and arts festival became one of the first cancelation victims of COVID-19).
Click here to check out Boddle’s engagement platform, which saw early adoption in Kansas City area schools.
“It does not feel like a final goodbye because we are committed to continue working with our KC school partners and be a part of the ecosystem as best we can,” Martinson said. “We also have educators in Kansas City that will continue to be a part of the Boddle team and we’re looking forward to growing that team.”
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.