SchoolMint Raises $2.2M to Streamline School Enrollments


SchoolMint Raises $2.2M to Streamline School Enrollments

By Tony Wan     Sep 19, 2014

SchoolMint Raises $2.2M to Streamline School Enrollments

Saving paper and papercuts--these are the environmental and health hazards that SchoolMint says it can help parents and school staff avert.

On a more practical note, the San Francisco, CA-based startup offers a browser-based and mobile platform that helps schools and parents manage students’ applications and enrollment process in K-12 schools. And it’s raised $2.2 million in seed funding, led by NewSchools Venture Fund, Runa Capital and Crosslink Capital.

Getting to school is the first step in a formal education. But the enrollment process can be a frustrating learning experience in itself. Long lines, reams of paperwork and confusion are a common sight during the beginning of the school year, as Chalkbeat noted.

SchoolMint was founded in October 2013 to help reduce the mountains of paper that schools have to manage when students apply and enroll. Schools can create customized online application and enrollment forms, track their status, and send notifications and updates to families. The platform can also pass data directly to school information systems so that school staff don’t have to enter them manually.

Parents can track the status of applications via a web browser, as well as on the iOS and Android apps. The platform also lets them conveniently register multiple students from the same household without having to input redundant details.

“The whole admissions process begins even before parents apply,” explains company co-founder and CEO, Jinal Jhaveri. “Schools do a lot of recruiting through events and information sessions. But there’s not much data to judge the efficacy of these efforts.” Typically, parents fill out forms that the school officials have to manually input and process.

SchoolMint offers analytics to gives schools insights into application trends that help them focus recruitment efforts and see results. For instance, schools can break down applications by geographic regions, and see whether certain ZIP codes are ahead or behind on applications.

Charter schools have used SchoolMint to manage lottery admission programs. Public districts that have adopted a school-choice system, where parents can rank their schools of choice, can also use the platform to manage these preferences and streamline the matching process.

Jhaveri says SchoolMint is currently used in over 500 public and private schools in more than 21 cities and 10 states, including five of the 10 biggest charter management organizations in the U.S. (including Achievement First, KIPP, Rocketship Summit Public Schools, Aspire and Uncommon Schools). In Philadelphia, all of the city’s public, charter and private schools are currently using SchoolMint. Some of SchoolMint's early customers switched over from InfoSnap, a competitor that provides similar services.

Jhaveri boasts that, on a per-school basis, his customers save between 500 and 700 hours of manual labor in managing and processing paper forms every year. (Reducing paperwork also means cutting back on stamps and envelopes costs, which can add up.)

SchoolMint charges schools a rough base price of $3,000 (it can vary based on enrollments). Additional features, such as automated communication to parents, are available for an extra fee.

“So far, schools on average increase 20-30% more enrollment” after using SchoolMint, claims Jhaveri. But popularity begets competition and problems, too. He reports that some adjacent schools, all SchoolMint customers, have asked him for enrollment data about how their neighbors are faring. The company does not disclose such information, but Jhaveri admits that this request took him a little by surprise.

Other participants in the seed round include Kapor Capital, Imagine K12, Romulus Capital, Fresco Capital and EdMentor VC, along with angel investors Jared Kopf and Tim Ranzetta. SchoolMint was a 2014 graduate from Imagine K12.

With the funding, the growing team of 15 will add analytics features that let schools predict their enrollment from year to year.

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