Shaper Impact Capital (SIC) is an impact investment platform founded and run by a team of experienced VCs. Our goal is to connect a highly curated network of social impact investors, angels and impact funds with purpose-driven startups and enterprises.
Welcome to our first article in the SIC Founder Success Stories series, where we feature amazing founders who have benefitted from our work at SIC. In particular, we hope to showcase the great example of measurable progress that can be achieved through the right mentor relationship. Today, we feature Angie Madara, Founder and CEO of edtech platform Growd.
Angie is part of SIC’s mentorship programme, through which we help impact startups increase their impact by matching founders with experts and advisors. To help Growd’s growth and positioning, Angie was paired with Tzvete Doncheva. We are delighted to kick start our series with a story of hope, creativity, resilience and finding opportunity in crisis.
To start off, what is Growd and what does it do?
Angie: We help young learners under the age of 14 years use learning experiences outside the classroom such as music, sports and arts to improve performance inside the classroom. For example, we recently helped a 10-year-old girl struggling with English by pairing her with piano classes which have been proven to improve reading skills, Drama classes which expanded her vocabulary and tennis which improved her concentration and memory. She now finds English easy and is currently writing a short story.
60% of children globally do not achieve minimum educational proficiency. The situation is worse in developing countries where 91% of children do not achieve this.
Hence, our vision is to build a vibrant ecosystem that enables more than 2 Billion children around the world access quality education, information and key services that will positively impact their lives, stimulate economic growth and create a ripple effect for the rest of the communities that they live in.
What have been the milestones achieved to date?
Angie: Our main milestones include the product launch, growing our customer base to over 1000, onboarding more than 400 providers of children learning activities, forming partnerships with schools, winning the flying saucer impact award, and hiring the senior management team.
How has your experience in the mentorship programme been so far?
Angie: I was initially paired up with Tzvete to help us put together a solid marketing strategy after the changes that were brought about by the global pandemic. We quickly realised that Tzvete had an arsenal of knowledge that goes beyond marketing. The advice she gave spanned PR, lead generation, content development, events management and growth hacking. Each meeting, she leaves us with actionable tasks to complete before the next meeting which makes the time we spend together more valuable. She constantly pushes us to go a step further and appreciate the growth from week to week.
Could you share a piece of advice you received from Tzvete that has been particularly beneficial for Growd?
Angie: As recently as last week (20.06.2020), we borrowed a leaf from her book. We held our first event which, through her guidance, was oversubscribed and led to new customer conversions. From the idea itself to the content creation to planning to assessing the channels to use, she guided us through it all.
The beauty of working with Tzvete is that she lays it down in black and white. She doesn’t try and get you to do something that is wildly out there. She works with you to find answers that were staring you in the face. She helps you see simple actionable solutions to some problems that you thought were too big to tackle.
Has the SIC mentorship programme led to any observable positive impact at Growd?
Angie: Yes. Through working with Tzvete, we held our first customer engagement event which was successful, we started partnerships with schools which in turn scaled our user base by 8X and our work has been published in a leading publication. This has all resulted through our mentorship with Tzvete.
More about Growd:
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