LatAm List – COVID-19 has millions of children across the world at home, missing out on learning experiences provided by their educators at school.
In response, Kinedu, a Monterrey-based edtech platform is providing free access to all of its in-app content until April 15th to families around the world. Any family, in any setting, will get the full Kinedu experience to continue supporting their child’s development from home.
Luis Garza, CEO and founder of Kinedu, shares his journey as an entrepreneur in Latin America and explains how technology can help empower parents and educators to create engaging learning experiences for children during their first years of development.
Q: What is Kinedu?
A: Kinedu unleashes early childhood development at scale by fostering quality learning experiences at home, at school, and everywhere in between. Our products provide relevant stakeholders with the tools and knowledge needed to foster early childhood learning and serve as platforms to improve interactions in the most significant dimension in the first few years of life.
Kinedu provides parents with an iOS and Android app that personalizes their babies’ development from 0-4 years. Families can track and understand how children are developing with our Kinedu Skills® model. We have a catalog of over 2,000 video-based activities that describe learning experiences focused on whole-child development that a parent can try out with their babies. These learning experiences are personalized to their individual development based upon our insights.
In addition, we have hundreds of articles and content focused on reducing uncertainty for parents during the first few years. All of our content is available in three languages– English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Kinedu reaches over 500,000 users monthly and has millions of emails in its database, its main markets being the United States, Brazil, and Latin America.
Q: What motivated you to start Kinedu?
A: I started Kinedu while working at Advenio, a corporate-sponsored childcare company I co-founded with René Lankenau. Back then, we were struggling to convince companies to join our effort to help families in the workplace and children, so we looked for ways in which we could continue to help children. Unlocking our learning plan was one of the many ways, but we had to understand parents better, and fine-tune it to the individual one-on-one interaction. In essence, the desire for greater impact led us to try and move past the bricks on which Advenio was built to try and get to every family out there.
Q: How do you think EdTech solutions will change the way in which we educate children?
A: Tech is a tool, like many other things before it. I believe that technology can help in three dimensions – Access, Personalization, and Productivity. On one hand, self-starters will have access to many, many pieces of content that will allow students to learn on their own. Also, we’ll be able to leverage technology to provide every individual with the optimal content and tools according to their passions, engaging them even more and helping them move forward. Finally, we’ll be much more efficient doing so – even now we’re seeing technology help teachers reach many more students, transform their roles as educators, and provide learning experiences more suitable to individuals. What will not change, however, is the need for human mentoring and interaction, particularly in early childhood – the science is clear: it is through early experiences where children form the basis of all future learning and well being. We may arm teachers with gizmos and gadgets, but young children will keep learning through play, fun, and discovery.
Q: What is the most important lesson you have learned through your experience at Kinedu?
A: There’s always chaos. Learning to thrive in a startup means being more comfortable with chaos than in any setting, yet at the same time never losing sight of the big picture. At Kinedu, we’ve always been clear on the next 3 months and what is 5 years ahead of us – the in-between is always hard to forecast.
Q: What advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to start their own company in Latin America?
A: Latin America is a great place to start. It’s close (and in the same timezone!) to a couple of well developed, big markets – Brazil and US/Canada; it has a big, educated workforce; and is up and coming itself in growing its tech market. My advice would be to leverage all of our strengths to build up the next big unicorn – and try to get unit economics right from the start!
Q: What’s next for you and Kinedu?
A: The Kinedu ecosystem involves putting all these pieces together in ways that empower every stakeholder to connect amongst them, particularly and ultimately for children. So continuing to develop our suite of products and build an ecosystem where parents and educators feel empowered to create learning experiences – relevant to their babies’ development – is what’s coming up for us!
For now, Kinedu is free to download and use – share with any parent of young children!
Learn more about Luis Garza and his story on this episode of the Crossing Borders podcast.