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

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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.

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Media Contact:

Jillian Lubow, Strategic Communications

jill@kinvolved.com

Kinvolved Hailed as a “Changemaker” among B Corporations

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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!

Press Release: Kinvolved Wins Multiple B Lab “Best for the World” Awards

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Kinvolved Honored as Best for the World Among Certified B Corporations after Comprehensive Impact Assessment

The organization has been recognized in two categories, Best for Community and Best for Governance, for its positive community impact and its mission-driven leadership

June 12, 2018 – New York, NY: Today, Kinvolved was twice recognized for being a “Best for the World” organization based on an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the nonprofit B Lab. Honorees are featured on B the Change, the digital Medium publication produced by B Lab: bthechange.com/bestfortheworld.

Kinvolved, a certified B Corporation, has been honored in both the Best For Community and the Best Governance categories. In each category, honorees receive the award if they earned a score in the top 10 percent of more than 2,400 Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment.

Honorees set a gold standard the positive impact that business-as-force-for-good can make in communities around the world. The selection criteria are available here.

The Community portion of the B Impact Assessment evaluates a company’s supplier relations, diversity, and involvement in the local community. It also measures the company’s practices and policies around community service and charitable giving, including whether a company’s product or service is designed to solve a social issue, such as access to basic services, health, education, economic opportunity and the arts. Kinvolved made the list thanks to exceptional practices like developing products and services to address a core problem, student absenteeism, which disproportionately affects students in high-need communities.

The Governance portion of the B Impact Assessment evaluates a company’s overall mission, ethics, accountability and transparency. It measures whether the company has adopted a social or environmental mission, and how it engages its employees, board members and the community to achieve that mission. This section assesses employee access to financial information, customers’ opportunities to provide feedback, and the diversity of the company’s governing bodies. Kinvolved made the list thanks to exceptional practices like continuous improvement, based upon client input, transparency among clients and team members alike, and diversity in hiring full time staff and board leadership.

“We’re an organization made up of former educators and community advocates. We launched Kinvolved because we saw firsthand the disastrous effects chronic absenteeism has on our schools, our communities, and particularly our most at-risks kids,” says Miriam Altman, Chief Executive Officer. “Our mission to elevate student attendance is inherently beneficial to everyone in the community. Combined with our high standard for ethics and values within our organization, it has been a natural fit for Kinvolved to be a B Corp, and we are honored to receive recognition from B Lab.”

To certify as B Corporations, companies must complete a full assessment—which measures a company’s impact on its workers, community, customers and the environment—and have their answers verified by B Lab. Today there are more than 2,400 Certified B Corporations across more than 150 industries and 50 countries, unified by one common goal: to redefine success in business.

A total of 932 Certified B Corporations representing 52 countries were named 2018 Best for the World Honorees. B Lab simultaneously released separate lists recognizing B Corporations as Best For The World Overall, Best For Environment, Best For Customers, and Best For Workers, which can be found at bthechange.com/bestfortheworld.

“With the rise of anger at a system that feels rigged, people are hungry for companies like Kinvolved that are changing the system by building businesses that seek to create the greatest positive impact,” says Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab. “Best For The World is the only list of businesses that uses comprehensive, comparable, third-party-validated data about a company’s social and environmental performance.”

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About Kinvolved

Kinvolved galvanizes students, parents, teachers, leaders, and community stakeholders around a shared goal: To increase student achievement by minimizing absenteeism. We take a holistic approach to fighting chronic absenteeism, combining technology tools and human interventions to change the deeply ingrained behaviors and external factors affecting student attendance, including poverty, racism, and socio-economic exclusion. Learn more at www.kinvolved.com.

About B Lab

B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. Its vision is that one day all companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the best for the world and society will enjoy prosperity for all for the long term. For more information, visit http://www.bcorporation.net.

About B the Change

B the Change is a Medium publication produced by B Lab in collaboration with the community of Certified B Corps and the movement of people using business as a force for good. Read all B the Change stories at http://www.bthechange.com.

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CONTACT:

Miriam Altman: miriam@kinvolved.com; 646.719.0553

Happy students throwing mortar boards up

How we’re increasing our impact in the year ahead

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A message from Kinvolved’s founders:

With an investment from Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, and with pilots launching in new states, Kinvolved is well-positioned to have tremendous impact in 2018.

In 2012 we founded Kinvolved with a singular vision: to increase student achievement by improving attendance and eliminating chronic absenteeism. Our holistic approach leveraged technology tools and human interventions to change deep-rooted behaviors and neutralize the external factors that lead to student disengagement—including poverty, racism, and socio-economic exclusion.

Why? Because chronic absence is a problem begging for a solution.

New federal legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), has prompted more than

37

Student attendance is the leading indicator of high school graduation: less than

20

By the time they
reach third grade,
only

17

of children who were chronically absent in earlier grades will read on grade level, compared with 64% of their peers who regularly attended class.

Chronic absence is also an issue of equity. Half the nation’s chronically absent students are concentrated in just 4% of the nation’s school districts, disproportionately affecting communities with the highest rates of unemployment, violence, inadequate housing, and intergenerational poverty. These are devastating numbers.

To find a path out of poverty and toward lifelong success, kids need to show up for school; our job is to show up for kids.

KiNVO, our attendance management software, launched in 2013 as a pilot with a small group of NYC public schools. We have since expanded our reach to 130+ NYC schools—serving more than 200,000 students, families, educators, and administrators—and we’ve launched a partnerships in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and communities in Kentucky, New Jersey, Connecticut, and South Dakota. In 2017, we also introduced Teacher and Leader Coaching, and Community Summits.

With hundreds of thousands of users, we’ve been able to gauge our impact:

  • Our partner schools see a 13x boost in attendance compared with other schools.
  • Kinvolved schools see stronger declines in chronic absence over the average school.

These results reinforce our commitment to the work, and we are excited to announce a new partner that will help us realize our vision: The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (DRK) has invested in Kinvolved as part of its social impact work, and Stephanie Khurana, a DRK Managing Director, has joined Kinvolved’s board of directors as a strategic partner.

Stephanie brings to Kinolved’s board her expertise as a deeply involved investor and advisor to other organizations, many of which work to make an impact on education in high-risk communities.   

Kinvolved’s founders have demonstrated impressive traction with a solution that is simple enough for communities to implement, and which tackles chronic absenteeism in its early stages—a critical component to increasing graduation rates, employability, and other key societal benefits.

- Stephanie KhuranaManaging Director, DRK

There are countless ways for our nation, states, and communities to think about education reform—the first step is to ensure children are present and prepared to receive the education they deserve. With the help of district, neighborhood, government, and funding partners, we are catalyzing communities to get more kids to school.

Thank you for your continued support.

Announcing Kinvolved’s new partnership with Sioux Falls School District

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We are thrilled to announce that Kinvolved has partnered with Sioux Falls School District to launch KiNVO and our Community and Culture Coaching services, to help ensure that every SFSD student is in school all day, every day.

In the Sioux Falls School District, the largest in the state of South Dakota, about 20 percent of students miss more than 10 days of school per year. Absences add up quickly; missing just two days per month means a child misses 10 percent of the school year (at which point, the student is considered chronically absent).

Dr. Brian Maher, Superintendent of  Sioux Falls School District, said that tackling attendance issues throughout the district is a top priority.

Three elementary schools (Hayward, Hawthorne, and Laura B. Anderson), one middle school (Whittier), and one high school (Washington) are early KiNVO adopters in the district. If the KiNVO pilot is successful at these schools, SFSD intends to expand KiNVO use across the district and entire Sioux Falls community.

To improve attendance is to change behavior across a community, which is no small endeavor. This takes a lot of time, focus, and hard work.  We’re honored to have a partner that puts so much emphasis on attendance. SFSD is Kinvolved’s first Midwest partnership, and we are very excited to continue growing our partnerships across the country!

If you have any questions about Kinvolved, including the KiNVO app, our Culture and Community Coaching services, or our Summits, don’t hesitate to reach out! Drop us a line at hello@kinvolved.com or on Twitter @kinvolved.

To request information on how to launch Kinvolved’s partnership in your district, or KiNVO at your school, please visit https://kinvolved.com/sign_up.