The concept behind Remind101 started as a program that co-founder and VP of Growth David Kopf built to help his younger brother Brett (Remind101’s other co-founder and CEO) during his college years. Brett’s ADD and dyslexia were making it hard for him to stay on top of his coursework. David combined Excel macros and existing email to SMS gateways to keep Brett appraised of his homework and due dates. Remind101 officially got off the ground as a company when Brett and David were accepted into the Imagine K12 national education incubator and opened their offices in San Francisco, CA. Their vision was to create a simple way for educators to connect to their students and/or parents, using technology and facilities available to the widest audience.
“Kids can sometimes be unreliable when it comes to educational discipline,” mentioned Aditya Bansod, VP of Products at Remind101. Truer words have never been spoken. Teachers constantly wanted to connect with their students about assignments, due dates, quizzes. At the same time, parents feel in the dark when students fail to deliver teacher notes and students assignments to them.
Teachers can simply sign up via Remind101's website (www.remind101.com) or the iOS/Android mobile app, by entering their name, email address, and password. For each teacher, Remind101 assigns a local phone number from Twilio, which will be used to communicate with students and parents. Teachers can also create classes for which Remind101 assigns an easy-to-remember code.
When students, or their parents, wish to sign up for notifications for that class, they simply send the class code as an SMS message to the teacher’s assigned phone number. Teachers can then send one-way text messages to the entire class list, or a subset, using the Remind101 website or the mobile app.
Remind101 chose Twilio as they sought a vendor who would give them access to telephony that was both programmatic and innovative. They found Twilio the easiest to get started with and to scale with as they went from hundreds to millions of messages per day. “The ability to offer the same API and capabilities as we scale our operation with Twilio has been critical for us,” commented Aditya Bansod. They were impressed that Twilio was able to make an esoteric telephony interface look like a standard web interface. “It’s much easier to hire a developer who knows about REST APIs than SMPP,” said Aditya.
The growth of Remind101 has been nothing short of remarkable. In a short 24 months, they’ve grown to:
Each new school year brings a large increase in volume of messages sent. During August and September of 2013, total users went from 2 million to 10 million, and messages per day went from 600,000 to 2.5 million. Interestingly, most of those messages are sent between 2:30 and 5:30PM in each local time zone across the U.S. as students head home for the day, providing a proof-point for Twilio’s scalable infrastructure.
In addition, educators, students, and parents are all enthusiastically behind Remind101. The numbers speak for themselves. In a Remind101-sponsored survey of K-8 teachers who used Remind101, they found that:
The Remind101 blog includes positive feedback from parents who don’t feel disconnected from their child’s schoolwork. Educators comment that “… parent engagement in school really impacts student outcomes.”