A look at the black-owned mobile app that pays students for getting good grades

December 27, 2019 at 01:00 pm | Tech & Innovation

Mildred Europa Taylor

Mildred Europa Taylor | Associate Editor

December 27, 2019 at 01:00 pm | Tech & Innovation

Two black entrepreneurs wanted to incentivize kids to do better at school so they launched a free mobile application in 2015 to reward students.

Four years on, the app has over half a million users and has become one of the innovative ways to recognize student achievers.

Known as Kudzoo, the free mobile application rewards students with deals, giveaways, scholarship opportunities, concert tickets, and once in a lifetime experiences based on students’ grades and achievements. 

Co-founder Trevor Wilkins came up with the concept for the program and sought the help of Logan Cohen, who gave the app suggestion.

At 24, Wilkins and Cohen developed Kudzoo, named after kudzu, then mentioned as the fastest-growing plant in the world.

“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,” Cohen told The Philadelphia Enquirer in 2014.

Image result for kudzoo app
Wilkins and Cohen were named in Forbes 30 under 30, Education category in 2016

“In exchange for good grades, users receive Küdzoo Cash, which they can put towards rewards such as $10 Panera Bread gift cards, scholarship information and 30 percent off discounts at Levi’s,” Entrepreneur wrote in 2016.

For Wilkins, this is almost like what he experienced growing up.

He said his parents gave him $10 for every A and $5 for every B on his report cards. They also made him pay back $20 for every C he earned.

This would influence his Ivy League educations, he said. While at Princeton, he also noticed that students achieved success due to the supportive foundation at home.

“I thought this might be able to help students all over the world,” the Chicago native told Entrepreneur.

Partnering with public schools in areas like Chicago, Baltimore County, Philly, Kudzoo makes money by selling Kudzoo Cash to schools and districts that want to reward their students.

The Pennsylvania-based company also earns money by allowing brands to connect with students through ads, sponsorships and engagement opportunities on the platform.

“Students these days communicate with each other and build communities through apps like Snapchat. These work because of the networks that form around the app,” Jeff Livingston, an associate professor of economics at Bentley University in Waltham, Mass. told Entrepreneur in 2016.

“The more people who use the app, the more successful it becomes. If incentives become more salient and exciting to students because they are all using the app, [Küdzoo] has the potential to be quite successful.”  

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