LOGAN COHEN, 24, of Malvern, is co-founder and COO of ed-tech startup Kudzoo. The company built a mobile app that rewards students, aged 13 and older, for their grades and achievements with deals and opportunities. Cohen also teaches a weekly entrepreneurship class for 14-to-16-year-olds at the Science Leadership Academy.
Q: How'd you come up with the idea for Kudzoo?
A: My co-founder, Trevor Wilkins, came up with it to reward students for academic achievement. It started as discounts and deals and we wanted to see what would get kids excited and it evolved into an app.
Q: The startup money?
A: We raised more than $200,000 from friends and family. We just launched a $20,000 Kickstarter campaign this week.
Q: What's Kudzoo do?
A: It's a mobile app that's free for students and rewards them with Kudzoo "cash" they earn for academic achievement and attendance. They redeem the "cash" for deals on local and national brands, concert tickets and educational experiences.
Q: The biz model?
A: Right now, we've allocated part of our marketing budget for deals. We have gift cards from Forever 21, Amazon, Foot Locker, Nike, Live Nation and Panera Bread. We're free for local businesses to sign up a deal to support student achievement. If national brands want exposure to our user base, they'll pay a sponsor fee on a campaign-by-campaign basis each quarter. It could be the SAT question of the day. The fees will be $50,000 to $150,000.
Q: Backstory on name?
A: Education creates opportunity and growth. I was looking up fast-growing plants and Kudzu clicked with me. We added the umlaut to personalize it.
Q: Kudzoo users?
A: We launched the app in Apple's App Store and Google Play in September. More than 4,000 students have already signed up.
Q: Your customers?
A: We partner with public schools in Chicago, Baltimore County, Philly. My students design what they want on our app. I started teaching last year to freshmen. Three are interns at Kudzoo and were accepted to Drexel's entrepreneurship program.
Q: Biggest challenge?
A: Finding the X-factor that would get [students] to use Kudzoo. Our scanning technology enables you to take a picture of a report card, checks student ID and GPA and scans grades, which then convert to Kudzoo "cash."
Q: How big a biz is this?
A: We don't expect to have revenue until next spring. We have five employees.
Q: What's next?
A: We're building the brand and students are helping. Kudzoo will write a college recommendation for each student who helps with user acquisition, social media and strategy. Our goal is 10- 15 million users in three years.