EdTech startup Possip enables parent-teacher communication
During her time as at Teach for America and as a public school teacher, Shani Dowell recognized a communication breakdown between school administrators, teachers, and parents. “You really get one shot at parenthood and kids get one shot in their grade, so as a parent, I want to get it right,” remembers Shani. So she created Possip, an app designed for schools and parents to share weekly feedback via text in less than a minute. Possip's EdTech levels the playing field in disadvantaged school districts by making it easier for parents of all backgrounds to stay engaged in their child's education.
As a longtime Nashville resident, Shani didn’t feel like she had access to the same startup resources in the Tennessee Valley as Silicon Valley. So after graduating from the Google for Startups Black Founders Exchange program, she enrolled in Founder Gym, an online training center for underrepresented tech founders that provides the structure, accountability, and connections needed to advance their entrepreneurial endeavors. During the four-week virtual bootcamp, Shani solidified Possip’s fundraising and sales strategies, secured new school partners, and forged a network of like-minded alumni. “Before Founder Gym, we hadn’t really raised any money. Now we’ve raised almost half a million dollars,” said Shani. “We went from seven school partners to 75 school partners."
To overcome language barriers at home, Possip uses a Google Translate API to text outgoing messages in 53 languages, as well as translate inbound messages. The platform organizes all incoming responses into five buckets—academics, staff operations, teachers, classroom culture, and school culture—so schools can collect and analyze feedback trends. More than 33,000 parents are now on the platform in 15+ U.S. states, and 100% of schools using Possip outperform the rest of their district in achievement and growth.