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Kiwi student wellbeing company closes $1.8m funding round

By Catherine Knowles, Wed 1 Sep 21

Komodo has closed its NZ$1.8 million seed round led by Folklore Ventures with investment from Icehouse Ventures and Flying Fox Ventures.

A number of private investors also participated in the round, including Culture Amps co-founder Rod Hamilton and director of people science, Chloe Hamman, multiple leaders from Education Perfect, as well as Kirsti Grant, director of people experience at Auror and previously of Vend.

Komodo is a New Zealand based data-driven platform designed to advance student wellbeing.

According to the World Health Organisation, half of all mental health disorders emerge by the age of 14, and suicide is the third leading cause of death of those aged 15-19 around the world.

Komodo states it aims to empower staff with a more proactive wellbeing management strategy so that all students can thrive, in and out of the classroom.

The platform is a wrap-around software solution that leverages data and insights from psychologist-built surveys, with the overarching aim of helping schools identify at-risk students and mitigate the impact of common issues such as harassment, cyber bullying and depression at the onset, before developing into crises.

With the funding, Komodo states it will further develop its platform and services, onboard more psychologists to the team and fuel its expansion into schools across New Zealand and Australia.

According to the team, this is a crucial time to focus on wellbeing, as families and schools are continuing to navigate the fall out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Komodo cofounder and CEO Chris Bacon, says, “Today’s students face many unprecedented risks to their wellbeing, amplified by an ongoing pandemic that is sure to cause long-lasting effects on their behaviour and wellbeing if we do not act.

"We believe that harnessing the power of science, psychology and technology can help students thrive in the classroom and beyond. This round of funding positions us to expand our reach to more students and to equip more schools with the tools needed to move from intervention to prevention."

Folklore Investor Dan Fleming says, “Komodo has expanded rapidly, and gives every student a voice when they need it most and empowers staff to proactively approach wellbeing management a need that is unfortunately exacerbated by the pandemic.

"We're proud to lead Komodo's seed round and back Chris and Jack's vision to remove barriers to seeking wellbeing support as early as possible.

The startup, which completed Startmate's Accelerator Summer '21 cohort, is currently working with a number of schools and partners across New Zealand and Australia.

This includes Marist College Ashgrove (Queensland), St Andrews College (Christchurch), the Australian Boarding Schools Association (ABSA), Independent Schools of New Zealand and the Council of British International Schools.

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