A new free mobile application offers rewards points in the form of “Kudzoo cash” to students who perform well on their schoolwork, and points can be exchanged for gift cards, discounts at stores and restaurants, and other giveaways based on grades and achievements earned in school.
When a student downloads the app and creates a user profile, they have multiple ways to earn “Kudzoo cash.” Grades can be uploaded or charted, or trivia questions can be answered ranging from random trivia to SAT preparation. Students can then use the “cash” earned to purchase discounts at certain businesses, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, or scholarship information.
“We had a kid do a shootaround with MLS (Major League Soccer) star Maurice Edu. And then we also have mentorship opportunities, like spending a day with an investment banker or real estate broker. And as we grow the experiences will too. We’d love to have a shootaround with LeBron James, or have a conversation about college admission essays with an admissions counselor from Princeton,” said CEO Trevor Wilkins.
In order to achieve that shootaround, a student would need to cash in around 850 Kudzoo cash. Straight As, no dips in GPA, no missed school days, and keeping up with the daily trivia questions will give users about 180 Kudzoo cash.
Wilkins said the idea for the app first came to him during his senior year at Princeton. In an interview with Lizzie Thompson for The Seventy Four, Wilkins said his parents had used money as an incentive when he was younger, offering $10 for A’s, $5 for B’s, and taking away $25 for any C’s. “That motivation growing up turned into self-awareness of wanting to do well. And it worked at home,” he said.
The app went into development in the beginning of 2014 with a soft launch occurring later that year. A number of different metrics were tested on focus groups in an effort to determine how best to set up the app, from visual aspects to what types of deals to offer.
Kudzoo was live tested during this past school year in order to see how students interacted. By the end of the school year, the app went from 4,500 users in June to 55,000 in August. According to Wilkins, that growth is due to social media influences.
“We’ll pay somebody with a mass following on Instagram or Twitter to tweet or mention us. We are in all 50 states, and students from around the world have started to pick it up. Students use us in 100 different countries,” said Wilkins.
The app recently exceeded 130,000 users to become one of the top 3 downloaded free education apps available in the Apple App Store. Kudzoo was recently inducted into Princeton’s inaugural Alumni Entrepreneurship Fund and is also close to closing a seed funding round.