by Shauntel Poulson
It seems like only yesterday I wrote “Why We Invested in SchoolMint” and today I am excited to share that SchoolMint has been acquired by Hero K12. This milestone is a great achievement for the SchoolMint team and validation that a high impact company can scale and create tremendous value.
I have enjoyed working with founders Jinal Jhaveri and Forum Desai over the past 4 years and have admired their passion, persistence, and execution. After experiencing the headache of enrolling their own daughter in pre-school, Jinal and Forum set out to build a best-in-class student enrollment solution that supports school leaders, empowers families, and strengthens communities.
Today, thousands of schools, serving over 2 million students, are using SchoolMint to streamline the enrollment process. SchoolMint provides a transparent and efficient experience for millions of families across the US. In cities like Cleveland, Camden, Chicago, and Oakland families now have better information to enroll their children in the best fit school for them.
SchoolMint’s success to date is the result of a multitude of factors, including key operational decisions at critical growth junctures. From my perspective as an early stage edtech investor, the following three decisions stand out as unique to SchoolMint’s ability to weave impact and high-growth together to create a modern, best-in-class company.
1. An Unwavering Commitment to Serve All Populations
From day one, the team made intentional product design choices to ensure SchoolMint was accessible. They prioritized a mobile first and multilingual solution (20+ languages) so that families of all backgrounds could quickly and easily enroll their children in school with a few clicks on a smartphone. Currently, close to 47% of customers only use mobile to access the system. As a result of these design choices, SchoolMint serves a significantly higher proportion of low-income families (>70%) and families of color (>80%). This focus on access has not only expanded their impact, but also has led to increased sales. Many schools and districts, especially large urban districts, cite accessibility as the top reason for selecting SchoolMint over other solutions in the market.
2. The Development of A Product That Meets the Needs of Both Charters and Districts
Like many edtech companies, SchoolMint’s early customers were charter schools who often want idiosyncratic custom designed solutions. Instead of designing a product tailored exclusively to these early adopters’ needs, SchoolMint built a flexible product suitable for a variety of customer profiles. The platform was built for parent outreach, choice and enrollment and fully integrated communications. This critical decision allowed them to cross the chasm from charter to district customers and diversify their user base to ~60/40 district/charter today. SchoolMint is now a leading provider of citywide school choice enrollment solutions and serves more than 10 out of the top 100 districts including Chicago Public Schools and Los Angeles Unified School District.
3. A Focus on Building A Diverse and Inclusive Organization
SchoolMint was one of the first organizations to sign onto Kapor Capital’s Founder’s Commitment as the founders recognized the importance of building a diverse team to reflect their user demographics. The staff is over 63% women, over 40% people of color, and represents over 7 countries bringing diverse viewpoints to the culture, values, product development, and customer service. Dual language employees, for example, are able to provide multilingual email and phone support to families. Beyond just hiring for diversity, the founders also prioritized building a welcoming and inclusive culture. Their core values such as “No Jerks- Period” and “Bring Your Whole Self To Work” are evident in every interaction from office visits to team BBQs. This focus on diversity and inclusion has helped the company attract and retain top talent.
These are just a few of the reasons that SchoolMint has reached today’s significant milestone. This is only the beginning and I look forward to SchoolMint’s continued journey and incredible impact as they join forces with Hero K12, a leading student behavior platform to support schools in creating a positive culture and climate. With thousands of schools across over 40 states, Hero K12 will further expand SchoolMint’s footprint and help them reach more families in more communities. The combined platform will further empower educators and families to work together to help students reach their full potential.