Adolescence is a difficult time, and the COVID-19 pandemic is making it even more difficult. Even in the greatest of circumstances, teenagers who are coping with personal or school issues may find it difficult to talk about them. Komodo, a student well-being platform founded in New Zealand, aims to provide students with a location to contact staff while also providing schools with data to help them recognize and treat issues such as depression and bullying.
The firm, which was founded in 2018 by Chris Bacon, Matt Goodson, and Jack Wood, announced today that it has raised $1.8 million NZD (about $1.26 million) in seed funding led by Folklore Ventures and Icehouse Ventures, with participation from Flying Fox Ventures.
Rod Hamilton, the co-founder of employee engagement platform Culture Amp; Chloe Hamman, Culture Amp’s head of people science; leaders from learning platform Education Perfect; and Kristi Grant, the director of people experience at Auror, were among the individual investors. Marist College Ashgrove in Queensland; St. Andrew’s College in Christchurch; the Australian Boarding Schools Association (ABSA); Independent Schools of New Zealand; and the Council of British International Schools are just a few of Komodo’s clients and partners in New Zealand and Australia.
Based on studies Bacon conducted while getting a Ph.D. at the University of Canterbury, Komodo was built to track the health of young athletes. Because many of its clients were schools, the team decided to broaden Komodo’s scope.
“Seeing particular examples was the pull for us,” Wood told TechCrunch. “We had schools come back to us and say, ‘We’ve got a youngster who’s been bullied for three months and hasn’t been confident enough to approach a staff member and start talking about it.’ We’ve now seen that in Komodo, and they’re relieved to have a private avenue through which to express their concern.’
The majority of pupils use Komodo’s web application and mobile app. Schools may customize the platform, which includes psychologist-designed questionnaires and questions about how children feel about going to school, socialization, and relationships, as well as important transitions like starting high school or preparing for university. The length of time pupils stay at Komodo is determined by their school. Some people go once a week, while others go every two weeks or once a month. Schools use the platform in varied ways depending on their circumstances; for example, if they’re learning remotely, they might check in more frequently.
For schools, survey data can help those spot emerging trends and identify possible problems, such as cyberbullying, earlier. Before introducing Komodo, the company’s founders claim that some schools conducted well-being surveys a few times a year, but that many of them depended on staff and instructors’ instincts — for example if a generally gregarious student suddenly turns reclusive. Komodo allows them to recognize and handle concerns more quickly, while Wood and Bacon underline that it is not meant to replace face-to-face contact.