The COVID-19 pandemic is making adolescents’ lives more difficult. Teens who are dealing with school and personal problems may have difficulty talking to one another even in the most positive of situations. New Zealand-based startup Komodo is a student wellbeing platform that wants to give students a place to communicate with staff, while providing schools with data to help them spot and address issues like depression or bullying.
The startup was founded in 2018 by Chris Bacon and Matt Goodson. Today, it announced that it raised $1.8million NZD ($about $1.26m) in seed financing led by Folklore Ventures. Icehouse Ventures participated. Rod Hamilton, co-founder of employee engagement platform Culture Amp; Chloe Hamman (Culture Amp’s director for people science); Education Perfect leaders; and Kristi Grant (director of people experience at Auror).
Some of Komodo’s partners and clients in Australia and New Zealand include Marist College Ashgrove, Queensland, St. Andrew’s College Christchurch and the Australian Boarding Schools Association. Independent Schools of New Zealand are also among them.
Komodo was initially created in order to track the health of young athletes. It is based upon research Bacon did while completing a PhD at University of Canterbury. Many of the clients it served were schools. This was when Komodo began expanding its scope.
TechCrunch’s Wood said that the “draw” for them was seeing specific cases. We had schools come back to TechCrunch saying that they have a child who’s been being bullied over the last three months and has not felt comfortable approaching staff members to discuss it. “We finally saw that they came up in Komodo, and they are happy that they have a private channel for them to express their concerns.
Komodo offers a web and mobile application. This is the preferred method of communication for students. The platform can be customized by schools and includes psychologist-designed surveys and questions about topics like how students feel about going to school, socialization and relationships or major transitions like starting high school or preparing for university. Your school will determine how often students log into Komodo. Some schools check in once per week while others do it once per week or once per month. The platform is used differently by schools depending on the environment. Schools may use it more frequently if they are learning remotely.
Schools can use data from surveys to spot trends and identify potential issues earlier. Komodo’s founders said that while some schools conducted wellbeing surveys once a year, many relied on teachers and staff intuition to spot trends. For example, when a student becomes more introverted suddenly withdraws. Komodo allows them to quickly identify and resolve issues. However, Wood and Bacon stress that Komodo is not intended to replace personal interactions.
Bacon stated that “Ultimately, our larger vision is to facilitate and get wellbeing support for students as soon as possible.” He said that Culture Amp founders spent much time discussing with Hamilton how important it is for data recipients to understand it and be able to use it regularly. We need to make sure that schools have access to psychologists, who are able and willing and able support staff.
Komodo will use its seed money to hire more psychologists, expand the platform, and open more schools in Australia, New Zealand, and other countries.
Publiated at Mon, 30 August 2021 21.06:43 +0000