ClassDojo, the classroom app connecting students, teachers and parents, has raised a new funding round of $21mn – without a monetization strategy. Founded in 2011, the startup has received new funds to expand its business. Monetization is coming in the medium to long term, and the startup has not yet revealed what it’s plan is.
Considering the healthy funds the startup has received so far, the VCs definitely trust that ClassDojo will succeed in making its business sustainable. So what are the possibilities for ClassDojo to monetize its app?
On the homepage of ClassDojo, the company promises that “ClassDojo will always be free for teachers”.
The School as a Customer
Let’s entertain the possibility that ClassDojo had not made this statement. Would it be realistic to have teachers pay for the app? In that case, the school would then likely pay for the app of course, not the individual teachers. And that is certainly possible. Especially private schools face the ever growing demands of helicopter parents. Considering that the parents pay a considerable amount of money to the private school, the demands must be tended to.
As the classroom becomes ever more interactive, an app connecting students, faculty and parents is not just useful, but necessary. And by supplying a whole school with its services, ClassDojo would be able to close big tickets whenever a school opts for its services – less customers with higher revenue per customer can be a great advantage over many customers with small purchases.
But, again, CodeDojo is not looking to monetize off of teachers. There still remain numerous possibilities for monetizing the app, though. In keeping the app free for teachers, the useful features are a huge incentive for the teacher to utilize it (unless the teacher is still futilely attempting to prevent students from using their smartphone in the classroom). And by introducing the app in the classroom, each student will be required to install and use the app as well, which in turn incentivizes parents to install the app as well (great multiplier strategy – each teacher brings in at least 20-40 installs!).
The app will have to run on a freemium model – since the teachers are not to spend money on the install. The parents will then have to pay for certain premium features.
Paying for content
One option is going the content path as a monetization strategy. In centralizing classroom interaction on the app, teachers could upload classroom materials onto the app, such as homework, fieldtrip information, conference scheduling, slides and video, etc. Some of this content could be limited in such a way, that at some point parents may have to pay for it. For example, ClassDojo could make content history only available for premium subscribers. Content may only be available for a certain, limited, amount of time. Past homework and slides or videos useful for revision may only be available if the parent pays for the privilege of having unlimited content availability.
A second option for monetization could be providing payment possibilities. Although not the intention of ClassDojo, there are a number of transactions going on at school that could be performed through the app. From field trips to lunches and writing materials, the app could allow for fast, efficient and trackable payment. Especially the trackability of payments is a feature parents could really benefit from. ClassDojo could then take a tiny percentage of the transactions.
What ClassDojo could also do is enable data tracking of the children. While Liam Don, ClassDojo’s CTO, has already noted that “privacy is a huge concern any time kids are involved”, and that the data would never be sold off, it is reasonable to give a parent access to the data of his/her child, for example showing the current GPA and the past grades of the child’s homework. One must be very careful though – giving parents too much access can hinder proper education. It is quite likely that the school does not want the parent to interfere too much in the teacher’s classroom.