After briefly mentoring a Technovation team in Massachusetts I was convinced that the program needed to spread to every school in every corner of the world. The competition’s goal is to bring awareness about STEM to girls in high school by asking them to identify and solve a problem; build a business from bottom-up, and help them get acquainted to the world of coding. After a few rounds of pitching and being judged, regional winners attend World Pitch day. I reached out to this year’s $10,000 World Pitch winners to see what they were up to, post competition.
The Arrive App team consists of three founding members, Alexandra Damley-Strnad, Krystal Molina, and Graciela Garcia of The Nightingale-Bamford School in New York City. Alexandra took a few minutes to talk to me about all things Arrive.
Like most other startups, Arrive too has a story. She noticed that the HID card system at her own school was a bit old-school, time consuming, and inefficient. Students would end up being late to class because they’d be stuck checking in. While taking attendance is crucial to the well-being of any institution, Arrive has found a gap that can reinvigorate this process.
The app simplifies morning check ins for students and faculty using a Quick Response (QR) Code and geo‐location services to track the user within a specified school radius. Arrive also automates classroom attendance, allowing teachers to focus on their students. Admin functions enable the school to tailor attendance reporting to their individual needs. Parents can opt-in to be notified of their child’s safe arrival at school.
When I asked about the business model, Alex didn’t hesitate to lay-out the preliminary plan they have drafted. Arrive will charge per year based on the number of students at each institution, in addition to a one-time setup cost.
Before its founding, no one on the team had coded before, but now Alex finds herself learning more and more about the intricacies that make her app function including HTML & Ruby on Rails. “Coming from students that didn’t know much about coding —- the stereotypes about coders aren’t always true.”
Technovation has also been a great resource and support system for them. “All the help we need is only a phone call or an email away,” says Alex. Angélica Torres, the Senior Director of the Challenge has been a pillar of that support system. Beyond the resources, this experience has allowed the ladies to learn what is meant to start a project, bring it to market, and get others involved. Arrive’s mentor and advisor, Natalie Hollier has helped the team make headway by opening up her network especially when it comes to outsourcing development.
I have no doubt that if done right and with scalability in mind, team Arrive will go on to shape attendance tracking not only in the Education realm but also in the Enterprise world. Currently it’s an app for students, by students, but I’m confident it will be much more.
I’ll leave you with a few more words from Alex,
Don’t be discouraged about anything. There will always be hiccups. Be open to following-through on ideas that you may have thought could not be feasible.