BELMONT, CA – January 17, 2018 -- ParentPowered, the creator of Ready4K, a text messaging application for parents of birth to third graders, today announced that it has raised a $2.65 million Series Seed round of financing led by Omidyar Network, with additional investment from Valhalla Charitable Foundation, The Richard E. and Nancy P. Marriot Foundation, and Heising-Simons Foundation. This round brings the total capital raised by the company to $3.65 million, with early support from Valhalla Charitable Foundation.
ParentPowered’s unique, evidence-based parent text messaging application, Ready4K, and its fast-growing network of institutional partners bring easy-to-understand information on child development and bite-sized activity ideas to even the hardest to reach parents nationwide. Since launching in 2016, ParentPowered has rapidly scaled and is now serving over 100,000 families in 38 U.S. states. With the new funding, ParentPowered plans to enhance the supports that it provides to parents by investing in its early learning standards-aligned content library as well as its technology platform. The company will also invest in building new institutional partnerships to expand its tech-enabled support model across wider geographies and to parents of younger children.
“We couldn’t be more excited to work with this first-rate team of mission-aligned investors,” said Ben York, Ph.D., founder and CEO of ParentPowered. “Having investors who are committed to early childhood education and experts in building early-stage companies is the perfect combination for fueling the next stage of our rapid expansion.”
ParentPowered’s first product, Ready4K, is based on a series of randomized controlled trials conducted by York and colleagues at Stanford University. The application leverages insights from behavioral economics and trends in consumer technology to meet even the hardest to reach parents where they are — on their cell phone. Every week, parents receive fun facts and easy tips for promoting child development by building on existing family routines, like bath time and going to the store. This approach has been shown to significantly increase parental involvement at home and school and drive two to three months of child learning gains. By working closely with institutions to strategically implement Ready4K, the company provides support to even the most economically disadvantaged parents, with industry-leading parent participation rates.
“We are excited by the potential to leverage mobile technology and principles from behavioral economics to increase parental engagement and kindergarten readiness,” said Isabelle Hau, U.S. education lead at Omidyar Network. “ParentPowered has developed a low-cost, highly scalable, and evidence-based solution to improve early learning that has already shown to increase engagement by parents in their child’s literacy activities.”
"We are attracted to ParentPowered because it has proven research behind it showing large improvements in parental engagement and child outcomes," said Signe Ostby, President of Valhalla Charitable Foundation, ParentPowered's earliest investor. "And we are optimistic about its ability to really scale to those in need."
For more information about ParentPowered, please visit: https://parentpowered.com.
ParentPowered creates simple tools for great parenting. The company’s first product, Ready4K, is an evidence-based text messaging program for parents of birth to third graders, covering early literacy, math, and social and emotional skills, in English and Spanish. Each week, parents receive fun facts and easy tips for promoting child development by building on existing family routines, an approach that has been shown to drive two to three months of child learning gains. ParentPowered’s social mission is to make its tools available to all parents, regardless of means, and the company has a strong commitment to serving economically disadvantaged families. While the company rapidly scales Ready4K, it will simultaneously enhance the tech-enabled supports that it provides to parents. Today, ParentPowered is serving over 100,000 parents in 38 states through partnerships with over 80 institutions. To learn more, please visit www.parentpowered.com.
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