Occasionally, teachers still need to send students home with notes that require parents’ signatures. But in today’s digital age, communication between schools and parents has evolved. Schools now send out text alerts notifying parents of weather-related closures and more; they post student success stories on Facebook; they tweet, they update websites and smartphone apps.
Apptegy, the Little Rock startup from Jeston George, has meshed all those communication channels into one platform to make technology more accessible for schools trying to deliver many messages, many ways.
Apptegy builds website and mobile apps into a unique publishing platform called Thrillshare, with which schools can manage and distribute all communications in one place. Essentially, with the click of a button, a school can update its website, Twitter feed, Facebook page and smartphone app, and even send out automated calls and texts.
It’s the “new math” of school communication; only now, parents understand and love it, as do school districts. Founded in 2013, Apptegy has signed up 26 school districts in Arkansas, including Arkadelphia, Blytheville, Sheridan, Hope and Beebe.
“Apptegy has completely changed how we communicate for the better,” said Dan Smith, principal of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School in the Marche community just northwest of North Little Rock. Donnie Whitten, superintendent of the Arkadelphia School District, said the Thrillshare platform is so easy that every school should be using it.
“Schools communicate with parents and their communities a lot,” George said. “This makes it so much easier to communicate.”
Rather than devote multiple employees or contractors to update sites, send tweets, make Facebook posts and more, one person can do it all, easily, in one place. “If we do this right, we are disrupting the industry,” George said.
Investors are beginning to agree. Apptegy recently raised $200,000 with which it will ramp up sales. The startup currently employs nine workers at its office in the Simmons Tower downtown, including David Allan, who came over from another local startup, Tagless Style, and founded ARK Challenge firm Acorn Hours before that.
For now, continued growth is the plan — throughout Arkansas, into more states and even more applications of the platform. George said it could easily be adapted for military bases, municipalities, churches, clubs and organizations.