What's your personal background? What motivated you to start your own company?
I’m a data scientist by trade. I went to UCLA for undergrad and UC Berkeley for grad school to study data science. I love statistics and machine learning and thought my life path as a data scientist was set. However, my fiancé is a Kindergarten teacher and I started to get really interested in how I could help make her life a little easier. The amount of work teachers are expected to do is honestly infuriating. I saw her juggling a clunky classroom website, endless parent emails, and countless files and thought, in the most trite fashion, “there’s got to be a better way.” So, her and I built Kindu. Once we launched Kindu for her school, it caught on like wildfire and I knew we stumbled onto something big.
What no code tool(s) did you use to build Kindu and what purpose did each play in the final product?
I use Bubble, Bubble, and also, more importantly, Bubble. I use Bubble to build the UI, Bubble to manage all my APIs, Bubble to manage all user data and content. I use Bubble for internal analytics and email communication with users. To be fair, I also write a lot of Python code for backend processes. But, when it comes to no code tools, it’s all Bubble. Did I mention I use Bubble?
What were the initial costs to get Kindu off the ground?
I think we spent around $300 dollars to get Kindu off the ground. It’s very cheap to get started and build something awesome these days.
What was the process of building your product from idea to launching?
After many conversations with my fiancé about the struggles she faced as a teacher, we came up with some initial ideas. Next, we spoke with her teacher friends and everyone we spoke with was super interested in what I thought was a sub-feature of a larger product -- a classroom website. It became super clear that we should put everything to the side and focus on building a reimagined classroom website, one that’s fun to use and isn’t a pain to manage. So, we built ✏️ Kindu Sites (https://www.kindu.io/sites). We first launched ✏️ Kindu Sites in my fiancé’s elementary school and then it just started to spread like crazy. After that, we started to notice a really interesting trend in ✏️ Kindu Sites. Teachers were using their sites to share tons of YouTube videos with their students and students’ parents. So, through many more conversations with teachers, we built 📺 Kindu TV (https://www.kindu.io/tv) - a place for elementary school teachers to find and share learning videos. Our strategy for launching products is pretty straightforward - we just talk to teachers, build what they want, launch it, see how they use it, and improve it.
How do you attract customers?
We have a really awesome community of teachers on Twitter. We’re obsessed with #teachertwitter. We hold a lot of webinars and meet with as many teachers as possible. It turns out if you listen to teachers and build what they want, they’ll tell their colleagues about you. It’s been so amazing to see.
What are the biggest challenges you've overcome building Kindu?
It’s a big ask of a teacher to set up a classroom website in the middle of the school year during a pandemic. While ✏️ Kindu Sites makes it easy to manage a classroom website and parent-teacher communication, it’s still yet another thing a teacher has to manage and set up. So, it requires us to be very focused on explaining the value proposition and motivating teachers to take the Kindu plunge. Once they do take the plunge, they truly love it (we have a churn rate of 0%).
What's your advice for non-technical people who want to start a company?
I’d say there are no shortcuts. There are so many incredible tools out there to get started. But, these tools are all still challenging and, like anything, take a lot of practice to get really good at. There’s only one thing to do - start building. Seriously, today. Once you finish reading this, go make an account with Bubble and start building your app. Let me know how it goes! If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
What are your future plans for Kindu?
Short-term, I think we’re ready to start raising money. We’ve built some amazing tools that are used by amazing teachers everyday across the world. We’re ready to start scaling the business. In the long-term, I have very ambitious goals for Kindu. I really hope to one day take us public :)
How do you think the rise of no code tools will impact entrepreneurship?
I think it will have a massive impact on the amount of companies created each year. There will be an explosion of ideas. Which will be incredible but will also make everything way more competitive. It’s so exciting. And, no code still has soooooo far to go. In 10 years, there’s no saying what the power of no code tools will be.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Yes, I’d like to thank my fiancé Georgia for everything. She’s my entire life. Kindu wouldn’t be anywhere without her. She inspires me everyday and plays such an important role in building Kindu. Hopefully one day I’ll finally get her to crack and convince her to officially join the Kindu team.