Cofounder of an educational app called Küdzoo, Trevor Wilkins (26) grew up on the violence-plagued South Side of Chicago — an area without many prospects for students.
“Fortunately, he was accepted to a magnet school and then eventually to Princeton,” explains his cofounder, Logan Cohen (25). “But when Trevor actually got to Princeton, he realized the students weren’t any smarter than those he’d grown up with. So, why were they at an Ivy League school while other kids struggled back in Chicago?”
The difference, they realized, was motivation. Kids in lower socioeconomic areas lack the same positive reinforcement and expectations around grades. No one’s offering $20 bucks or Dad’s car in exchange for a good report card. So, why try?
“We felt there was an opportunity for a third party to stimulate that engagement,” says Cohen. “To step in and reward students for academic achievements.”
In 2015, they launched Küdzoo: an app that literally pays students for grades, attendance and the ability to answer SAT prep questions. It’s the first educational tool set in young people’s natural habitat — smartphones — offering gift cards to stores like BestBuy, Amazon and Chipotle in exchange for success. And with more than 500,000 sign ups and a recent nod from Forbes 30 Under 30, we think it’s safe to say: Disruption’s youngest participants to date are changing education forever.