Kadama, a Seattle-based tutoring service provider which seized on its quirky social media presence to attract millions of followers and customers, recently announced it has raised $1.7 million in a seed funding round.
The round was led by Grishin Robotics. Russian investor Dmitry Grishin, Founder of Mail.ru, has joined the Kadama board.
Kadama was founded five years ago at the University of Washington as a multi-services idea but launched several months ago in its current educational iteration. Through its free iOS app, the company provides an online tutoring service for both students who need help and tutors who are looking to connect with those students.
Kadama seized on the pandemic to attract Gen-Z users forced into remote learning. Much of its promotion has been through TikTok, the video-sharing platform where it offers an endless variety of “hacks” related to everything from homework to smartphone shortcuts. The Gen-Z learning app rose to a #2 ranking in the App Store under education. Kadama claimed it has attracted more than 2 million followers on TikTok and Instagram and the platform has witnessed 2.5x revenue growth month over month.
Amin Shaykho, Co-founder & CEO of Kadama, said,
“As a team of students and recent college graduates, we are shocked to see the level of virality and relatability our brand has towards millions of students. We have never seen people our age talk about learning apps outside of the classroom.”
The startup has introduced Kadama Events, which includes such things as weekly trivia and gaming tournaments, engaging with students beyond their tutoring needs. Kadama Rewards is also new, as a way for students to win rewards for getting help on Kadama. The more lessons a student gets, the more prizes they can win. Tutors can also win rewards for helping students and unlock badges that display on their profiles.
Dmitry Grishin also commented in a statement,
“This past year has made it clear that existing models of education are outdated. Kadama exists where Gen-Z students already spend their time: on their phones, on TikTok and social media.”
Kadama said it will use the new funding to hire software engineers to help build its upcoming Android app and develop new product features on its iOS app. The company also plans to expand its marketing efforts by partnering with large social media influencers that appeal to Gen-Z. The team is expected to grow to seven to 10 people and there are plans for a new Kadama headquarters in the Seattle area, which will include a studio for creating and expanding its content.