Joanna Smith, Allhere, Edtech, Black Female Founder, Venture Capital, Vc

Joanna Smith, Allhere

How A Black Female Edtech Founder Attracted $12.1 Million In Venture Capital

How A Black Female Edtech Founder Attracted $12.1 Million In Venture Capital

6/23/2021 3:24:00 PM

How A Black Female Edtech Founder Attracted $12.1 Million In Venture Capital

I am president of Ventureneer, which specializes in defining and eliminating problems that hold underrepresented entrepreneurs back, especially minorities and women. Our work provides clients with branded research, training and content opportunities that generate thought-leadership, visibility, sales, and brand loyalty. I am a WE NYC and digitalundivided mentor as well as an advisory board member of Million Dollar Women, Women Startup Lab, and Aleri Research..

told Dennis Keohane of Harvard Innovation Labs Stories. Failing fast was a godsend. When the first version of AllHere failed, Smith went back to the drawing board. She spoke to school administrators and learned that the superintendents had the fiscal responsibility for solving the problem. The key to getting market traction was meeting their needs. Knowing who the real decision-makers were, she built a product that met the needs of school superintendents.

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Most importantly, Smith listened. She replaced the online attendance platform with chatbots that use behavioral science and interactive nudges to encourage attendance and engagement of children in K-12.The bot sends personalized two-way text messages to families to improve student attendance rates 24/7. Chatbots are software applications that use artificial intelligence and natural language processing to understand what an individual wants, then guide them there. It's like a virtual assistant for your customer experience.

When AllHere launched its first chatbot, schools embraced the service as they faced a crisis in student attendance and engagement issues related to virtual learning. AllHere's approach has been proven through randomized, controlled trial research to reduce chronic absenteeism by 17%, reduce course failures by 38%, and increase student retention.

Under normal circumstances, parents—especially those with more than one job—face stress. That stress level increased exponentially during Covid-19. The past year presented a window of opportunity to move beyond mailings and in-person support to leverage personalized, two-way text messages to improve attendance, the number one indicator of student success in K-12 education.

The number of schools using AllHere grew over 700% in the last year to 8,000 schools across 34 states, helping 2 million students and families across the US. Read more: ForbesWomen »

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