The battle is on. It’s time to pick a winner.
We met one-on-one with the top 6 to hear their pitch for the top spot.
Jason Richards, founder of Minga, created the first platform that integrates day-to-day communications into one streamlined platform for educational institutions. We recently caught up with Jason to learn more about his inspiration behind the idea, his experience as an entrepreneur and his plans to go the distance.
What problem were you trying to solve when you started Minga?
I was getting frustrated with communications from the school system, as were my kids. The education system is so big that there is a lot of acceptance that “it’s just the way it is.” But ineffective communication leads to poor engagement, poor attendance at events, and poor participation across the board. Once I started looking into the problem, I started finding that everyone was equally frustrated.
Why should people be excited about using Minga?
In education, there is a positive correlation between communication and engagement. From the standardized stuff to higher grade point average, attendance rates, graduation rates, mental health scoring, a sense of community, teacher retention, all of these correlate to improved engagement. Kids often complain that they don’t like school, but if there was an opportunity to make school more enjoyable, why wouldn’t we take advantage of it?
Tell us about the success you’ve found already
Every time we roll it out to a new school, we see it used in a new and unique way. I was talking to a teacher the other day, he’s been using Minga to talk about how social media works. Because it’s a secure closed system, he can engage with the students and have exercises where they post content and see the influence that positive messaging can have. He wouldn’t be able to do that using something like Instagram.
How do you see your company growing?
Right now, we’re selling to schools. Our next big step is growing by districts. When you sell to one school at a time, it takes 2 weeks to 2 months. Selling to a district takes 4 weeks to 4 months, but then you get 60-100 schools. In Kelowna, we have 80 schools just in the central Okanagan. Transitioning from a school to a district sale will be a big growth opportunity for us.
What would the $155K investment mean for your company?
We’re looking to invest more in sales and marketing, which helps grow our customer base. The capital we’re looking to raise now would be 100% for sales and marketing growth. We’re already covered for our operational costs for 2020 and this addition would be about getting us to our Minga 100 goal (100 schools using Minga).
What has this experience taught you about the entrepreneurial journey?
Speaking with 35 investors from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and industries helps to bring you back to the basics of why you do this. You get to talk about what your big hairy audacious goals are again, you get to talk about your vision and share your passion with people. The investors are here because they want to be a part of that dream.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who want to participate next year?
You need to take the time to get to know each of the investors on a personal level. These are all successful people that will have something to offer. Even if they don’t understand your concept, that’s something they offer. The failure is on your end for not sharing something properly. Investing is a people business, startups are a people business. The Angel Summit is all about getting back to that human element. Being stuffed in front of your computer cranking out emails and dealing with challenges, it’s easy for us to forget that.