Remind keeps teachers in touch with students and parents—millions of times a day—using SMS.
The concept behind Remind started as a program that co-founder and VP of Growth David Kopf built to help his younger brother Brett (Remind’s other co-founder and CEO) during his college years. Brett’s ADD and dyslexia were making it hard for him to stay on top of his coursework. David combined Excel macros and existing email to SMS gateways to keep Brett apprised of his homework and due dates.
Remind officially got off the ground as a company when Brett and David were accepted into the Imagine K12 national education incubator and opened offices in San Francisco, CA. Their vision was to create a simple way for educators to connect to their students and/or parents, using technology and facilities available to the widest audience.
“Kids can sometimes be unreliable when it comes to educational discipline,” noted Aditya Bansod, VP of products at Remind. Truer words have never been spoken. Teachers want to connect with their students about assignments, due dates, and quizzes. At the same time, parents feel in the dark when students fail to deliver notes from teachers and big assignments come as a surprise to them.
Teachers sign up at Remind’s website or on its iOS/Android mobile app simply by entering their name, email address, and password. For each teacher, Remind assigns a local phone number from Twilio, which the teacher uses to communicate with students and parents. Teachers also can create classes for which Remind assigns an easy-to-remember code.
When students or their parents wish to sign up for notifications for that class, they send the class code as an SMS message to the teacher’s assigned phone number. Teachers can then send one-way text messages to the entire class list, or a subset of the class, using the Remind website or the mobile app.
Remind chose Twilio as it sought a vendor that would give it access to telephony that was both programmatic and innovative. It found Twilio the easiest to get started with and to grow with as it went from hundreds to millions of messages per day. “The ability to offer the same API and capabilities as we scale our operation with Twilio has been critical for us,” commented Bansod. Remind was impressed that Twilio was able to make an esoteric telephony interface look like a standard web interface. “It’s much easier to hire a developer who knows about REST APIs than SMPP,” said Bansod.
The ability to offer the same API and capabilities as we scale our operation with Twilio has been critical for us.
The growth of Remind has been nothing short of remarkable. In a short 24 months, it has grown to:
Each new school year brings a large increase in volume of messages sent. During August and September 2013, total users went from 2 million to 10 million, and messages per day went from 600,000 to 2.5 million. Interestingly, most of those messages are sent between 2:30PM and 5:30PM in each local time zone across the US as students head home for the day, providing a proof-point for Twilio’s scalable infrastructure.
Educators, students, and parents are all enthusiastically behind Remind. The numbers speak for themselves. A Remind-sponsored survey of K-8 teachers who used Remind found that:
The Remind blog includes positive feedback from parents who don’t feel disconnected from their child’s schoolwork. Educators comment that “parent engagement in school really impacts student outcomes.”