Remind, the company behind a messaging app that allows teachers to send text, photo and video reminders to parents' and students' smartphones recently raised $40 million to expand its product internationally, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The San Francisco-based ed tech company's free app has more than 1 million teachers as well as 17 million students and parents as users, the company said in a statement Sept. 30.
Text messages are often seen as a distraction during school, but Remind has grown along with the mobile market by helping parents, students and teachers stay in constant contact with its simple functionality. CEO Brett Kopf told Businessweek in August that after Remind struggled in its first years, it asked teachers what they wanted from a messaging app for schools. The answer? A simple way to get parents more involved.
Using Remind, teachers can gather parent volunteers for field trips. Students can get answers to questions about assignments from teachers or brainstorm with one another. Administrators can use it to notify parents and students of weather-related disruptions like snow days. Parents can use it to let each other know about scheduling changes for events, sports practices and other after-school activities.
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Parents worried about security can rest assured that the app keeps phone numbers private. The app can communicate via text messages, through the app itself or through emails. These communication channels are protected behind unique classroom codes.
“It’s quick. It doesn’t have to be wordy. It just gets straight to the point,” Amy Chow, a teacher at Oakstead Elementary in Land O' Lakes, Fla., says in a YouTube video.
The concept of Remind's app proved popular enough to draw the attention of investors such as Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The firm recently announced that it had participated in a $40 million investment round in the company; other investors include the Social+Capital Partnership and First Round Capital.
"Mobile has changed our everyday lives and is now changing how we learn," John Doerr, founder and partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, says in a written statement. "Remind's simple, safe and free messaging app is connecting millions of K–12 teachers, students and parents. We're thrilled to invest in their hypergrowth."
The growth of the mobile market has significantly affected schools. Smartphones and tablets are the most popular devices among children ages 4-14, according to a recent report by The NPD Group. Some schools have reaped integrated the devices' use into classroom instruction and have reaped rewards, such as higher grades at the all-digital Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, N.Y., and better test results for algebra students in Riverside, Calif., according to data from Mobile Future.