Interview between Maria Aponte, Head of Programs at Fintech Cadence and Geoff Jordan, Founder and President at At School Today, a recent graduate in our Ascension 2022 Cohort.
At School Today provides communication, auto-fill permission forms and school payments on a smartphone. Parents pay digitally in a flash.
Can you tell us about your backstory and what inspired you to take the leap into building At School Today?
As a parent of two very athletic girls who like to participate in just about everything in their school, I realized that the education sector was missing a simple-to-use digital tool for payment, permission, and communication. All was disjointed, disconnected, and cumbersome. It was permission slip and e-mail chaos multiplied by each child in my family. As a parent, I wanted everything in one place… the computer in everyone’s pocket – the smartphone.
At School Today aims to revolutionize the way school payments are done. This solution could bring a myriad of benefits to professors, parents, and of course young students. What has been the most rewarding aspect of bringing At School Today to life?
The most rewarding aspect realized, are the speed, usability, and workload reduction offered by its creation. Teachers can create, distribute and collect permission with payment in 3 minutes. It is as simple as dragging a payment onto a PDF form already used and created.
On the other side, what have been some of the most challenging aspects of scaling up At School Today?
The most challenging aspect of scaling up At School Today has been being anointed as a resource allowed to exist in school systems. There is much red tape in the B 2 B 2 C construct. We do things differently. What used to be a large undertaking is now something quickly done with At School Today™.
The merger of both sectors, EdTech and Fintech has created a high impact across the entire education spectrum and has experienced exponential growth in the past years. Is there any particular startup in this industry that inspires you?
Ellii is a company that inspires me.
Do you agree with the statement that Fintech can bring affordability and inclusion to EdTech? Why?
Absolutely. When meaningful software is accessible and equitable it can improve human lives. At School Today has been designed to do exactly that — to make information readily available and to improve success for students via parent-to-child engagement.
What are some of the next big milestones for At School Today?
We are looking for partnerships with SIS and school management systems to grow customer acquisition.
As a founder and leader, what are some of the most important skill sets that aspiring entrepreneurs should develop?
One of the most essential skills for aspiring entrepreneurs to develop is, the ability to bring people together to achieve the desired goal, always looking to problem solve with persistence and thinking differently — turning things upside down and backward.
Being a founder and undergoing the startup journey can be a rollercoaster. What have been the driving forces to keep you going despite the lows and what advice would you give to founders?
Our vision of At School Today keeps me going. Every day is a new day that can bring amazing accomplishments.
You’ve been part of the 5th Ascension Cohort which has undertaken a new spin on supporting founders by maximizing their funding opportunities and fostering peer support from founders. What have been some of the biggest takeaways for you?
At Ascension, I have met some amazing people who are looking to make positive changes. It is inspiring.