Kinvolved Closes $1.5M Seed Round to Expand Its Efforts to Engage Families and Communities in Eradicating Chronic Absenteeism

By | News | No Comments

November 1, 2018 – New York, NY: Amidst a wave of new research underlining the connections between school attendance and student success, Kinvolved, the leader in software and services proven to reduce chronic absenteeism and boost daily attendance, today announced it has secured $1.54M in funding through a Seed II investment round.

Kinvolved raised funds from notable organizations and angel investors, and their investments will help Kinvolved build on its success supporting school districts in their efforts to get all children to school each day.

The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (DRK)—a global venture philanthropy firm supporting early-stage, high-impact social enterprises—led the fundraising round, and its managing director, Stephanie Khurana, sits on Kinvolved’s board of directors.

“DRK invests in high impact social enterprises that solve real-life problems in targeted, innovative ways,” says Khurana. “The Kinvolved team has demonstrated a commitment to eradicating chronic absenteeism through a systems level approach and meaningful engagement to support students. We’re excited to support their efforts to expand into new communities.”

Also included in the round is the Twilio.org Impact Fund, which invests in social enterprises that use innovative communications strategies and demonstrate the potential to scale. The organization recently announced it had met its goal of powering one billion messages for good five years early, and referenced its impact investment in Kinvolved as part of its efforts to help reach one billion people each year.

Erin Reilly, VP of Social Impact and GM of Twilio.org, shares that, “when it comes to education, it can be hard to bridge communication gaps among school staff, students, and families; these missed connections can sometimes have dire consequences for kids. By leveraging communications technologies, Kinvolved offers simple, intuitive tools that break down barriers. We are excited to welcome Kinvolved into the Impact Fund family.”

Other investors include:

  • New York Ventures, the venture capital investment arm of Empire State Development, which will also serve as a board observer.
  • Excell Technology Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests in seed and early-stage technology startups in New York State. Excell also holds a seat on Kinvolved’s board of directors.
  • GingerBread Capital, a venture capital fund founded by Linnea Roberts that invests in women founders and entrepreneurs, and helps women-led business access the resources they need to scale successful enterprises.
  • u2i, a software development firm that builds tight, passionate, agile software development teams to help startups and growing businesses achieve success. u2i has been Kinvolved’s technology partner since 2015.

“These investments represent an alignment between these organizations’ missions and Kinvolved’s commitment to achieving educational equity by engaging educators, families, and communities in the effort to get every child to every class, every day,” says Miriam Altman, co-founder and CEO of Kinvolved.

Kinvolved will use the funds to support sales growth, deepen product research and development, and expand its client services offerings. The organization’s 2016–17 Impact Report quantified the effects of the organization’s software and services on school systems:

Data from its 2017–2018 impact study show impressive first-year gains, and Kinvolved will release those findings in its forthcoming impact report.

“We develop software and services that strengthen the bonds between and among students’ support systems, and that raise awareness of attendance issues before they become unmanageable,” says Kinvolved co-founder and Chief Product Officer Alexandra Meis. “Those are the most powerful levers we can pull to improve student achievement and offer all students an equitable chance at a high-quality education.”

About Kinvolved

Kinvolved is a social enterprise on a mission to increase student achievement by minimizing absenteeism. Our holistic approach combines technology tools and human interventions to change the deeply ingrained behaviors and external factors affecting student attendance and chronic absence, including poverty, racism, and socio-economic exclusion. Learn more at www.kinvolved.com.

# # #

Media Contact:

Jillian Lubow, Strategic Communications

jill@kinvolved.com

How much funding does your district leave on the table?

By | Tips and Resources | No Comments

No matter how hard school districts strive to better serve the children in their communities, the reality is that if students don’t show up to school, none of it matters.

On top of that, districts lose funding when students are absent, making it even harder for teachers and leaders to achieve their goals.

Just like the communities we partner with, Kinvolved is committed to helping more kids make it to school each day—and the initial results from our 2017–2018 impact study tell us there’s reason to be excited:

Districts using KiNVO to track attendance and engage families average a 2% increase in average daily attendance (ADA) in their first year—and that translates to a serious budget boost.

We want to help districts find more funds to educate, engage, and inspire their students, so we looked at state funding formulas across the country and built customized calculators you can use to find out how improving attendance can also improve your district’s bottom line.

Using the calculator is easy:

  • Go to https://kinvolved.com/attendance-calculator/
  • Select your state from the dropdown
  • Enter your district’s ADA (if your state doesn’t have a specialized ADA formula, we may ask for your per-student funding amount, too)

We’ll automatically estimate your funding increase. Then if you’re interested in turning that estimate into a real-life return, get in touch.

Kinvolved Hailed as a “Changemaker” among B Corporations

By | News | No Comments

Kinvolved Hailed as a “Changemaker” among B Corporations

Today, Kinvolved was awarded a place on the Best for the World: Changemakers list, which acknowledges positive impact and behavior change among Certified B Corporations across all categories on the B Impact Assessment. This comes on the heels of winning two other Best for the World awards.

All honorees are featured on bthechange.com. Thank you all for acknowledging our contributions—we’re proud to be among these amazing Changemakers!

Tapping into the power of positivity

By | Tips and Resources | No Comments

This blog post is part of our Guide to Family Partnerships, based on the stories we collected while assembling our 2016–2017 Impact Report.

Research on positive/negative interactions reveals that educators who lead with the positive and continually send encouraging messages—rather than first reaching out about a problem or only initiating contact when something is wrong—have the best chance at building strong relationships.

When schools only reach out to discuss problems, it’s easy for parents and students to feel frustrated, powerless, and disengaged; positive messages provide a welcome bright spot that helps build trust and engagement in schools.

Educator perspectives on how Kinvolved helps

Mr. K. recalls that one student’s mother was surprised to receive through KiNVO a text from him that commended her student’s effort: “She told me that, in the past, when she received a phone call from class, it was never positive.”

For Ms. C., a Community Schools Director in Brooklyn, her team instructs teachers to be “very strategic around what we’re communicating with parents,” which is easy to track and evaluate through KiNVO’s reporting tools. She explains: “There is always something positive you can share with a parent. Send as many positive messages upfront as you can. When you do have to send a negative message, parents and students will better receive it because they’re used to you saying something kind and genuine—they understand you’re communicating because you need their support addressing an issue.”

Putting it into practice

  • Apply the “Magic Relationship Ratio”—initiating five positive interactions for every negative interaction—to build and sustain a strong relationship.
    • KiNVO pro tip:Use KiNVO’s Parent Communication report to compare how many Positive versus Needs Improvement messages you send—grade-level and content teams can set specific communications goals and check their progress each week.
  • Be conscious about the tone and timing of your messages, and keep your content simple and pleasant. Remember that texts can be easily misinterpreted, so if you have to discuss a sensitive matter, use text messages to coordinate a phone call at a mutually convenient time.
    • KiNVO pro tip: Start and end on a positive note, sandwiches in the middle any issues that need to be addressed.
  • Designate time periods where you send only positive messages. This helps establish an encouraging environment, build family and student buy-in, and create a two-way communications channel for collaborating and problem-solving.
    • KiNVO Pro-tip: Schedule positive-only periods at the beginning of the year and after long breaks.