Galician TokApp startup app thousands schools use in the return to class to communicate with parents - TokApp School is a mobile application whose function is to speed up communication between teachers, parents and students behind which hides a Galician startup.
You might think that in the face of WhatsApp and e-mail launching a mobile instant messaging app is a crazy-only task. But the truth is that today this app is used by thousands of Spanish schools and has presence in Latin America and Portugal.
The company began its career in 2013 in the face of what they considered a niche to cover: the dynamization of communications between institutions and users. Although at that time his focus was more on companies.
This is how this group of Galician entrepreneurs launched after 9 months of own development the mobile messaging app TokApp. But they quickly saw that the business opportunity was in another sector: education.
"We saw that we weren't focused on the right niche, companies were more focused on finding users, but who doesn't care about this search? Who has them well identified and channeled? Education, so that's where we came in, in a sector that wanted it was to communicate with its audience, with parents, students. As a result we were growing in number of users", explains Edelmiro Justo, Deputy Director of TokApp, in conversation with Business Insider Spain.
Galician TokApp startup app thousands schools use
In this way the Galician startup launched the subsidiary TokApp School focused on offering its services to educational centers and began to expand. In 2017 the application caught Abanca's attention and the financial institution became part of its shareholding.
That same year, the company made the International LEAP by landing in Mexico and Argentina. Today its presence has expanded to 7 other countries in Latin America, including Dominican Republic, Costa Rica Bolivia and Chile.
As for the operation. It is a mobile instant messaging app through which schools can send their users all kinds of information, such as notices, reminders or circulars, which also has the legal validity of a burofax. If the customer so requests, a response option may also be included.
"The communication is always unidirectional, from the institution to each individual person and when they answer that information is established in a history that serves them as certified evidence. For example in the case of school clearances if a parent authorizes his or her child for an excursion through the app, he or she is legally authorized."
Once a school's management decides to work with TokApp, the platform allows it to generate a notification to families to let them know that the school will start communicating through the app. Parents can then download it for free from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.
The advantages, as just summed up, include not having to constantly check the intranet of your children's school to see if there are notifications or the 200 WhatsApp of the parent group to see if you missed something.
But they wanted to go further and in 2019 they began to develop together with Abanca a payment platform that allows you to pay from the application expenses such as excursions or dining fees.
Currently there are almost 5,000 schools that use TokApp School in our country, according to data provided by its deputy director who without giving concrete figures estimates that 2019 closed with a turnover close to one million euros.
Among its clients, TokApp has reached an agreement with the Government of Murcia whereby all schools in the community will manage their communication through its application.
In addition to TokApp School, the company also allows its customers to customize their own app.
From this form "not only serves to issue communications but also introduce those fields that that institution needs: social networks, web or private access for the user", emphasizes Justo.
Under this scenario the company has reached an agreement with the Government of Navarra by which they will create the application that will use all schools in the community to communicate with families.
The pandemic has at the same time represented a scenario of opportunities and challenges for the Spanish startup.
As Justo acknowledges, confinement spurred the use of its application: "metrics skyrocketed from the second week of confinement."
"Many schools hired the platform and only the management team used it to deliver general information. As a result of the pandemic, teachers themselves also began to use it to communicate with students and families. So we come across an avalanche of tool requests. Our usability has multiplied by 300", says Justo.
The unusual return to school that will take place this September has involved developing new features to meet the needs of its users.
"The requests that [the schools] have now are totally different, now there are many statements from the teacher about duties and tasks, so they are asking us that the platform can also be opened on the web," explains the director.
"Also that such communications may be forwarded to e-mails. At the end we adapt to the needs of our customers. We have to grow with them and with new situations."
In terms of objectives and plans for the future is to prioritize the part of the payment platform.
"Now we are waiting a bit for this whole situation to pass to see where we are going, because there are many initiatives on the table, for example the new part of payments is crazy, there is a quantity of banking movement that already planet new models like the fintech part, because imagine the volume of students that a school has and the number of schools we have", Justo notes.
Although it is not TokApp's only long-term aspiration.
"We are open to new investors to expand functionalities, countries and continue to grow faster. We have a success story here in Spain, we can replicate it in other countries."
Galician TokApp startup app thousands schools use