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With Founder Gym, a new approach to supporting tech entrepreneurs

February 13th, 2019

As a public school teacher and a leader of education nonprofits, Shani Dowell saw an opportunity to better communicate parents’ feedback to their kids’ schools. The parents shared ideas, praise and frustrations with one another, yet there was no system in place to give more routine feedback to school administration. So Shani created Possip, a platform for parents to give weekly feedback in less than a minute. It gives the schools actionable reports and helps them see trends, while allowing parents to track their school’s progress and responses to feedback.

Shani didn’t have all the resources and connections to grow her budding tech company, so she joined a six-week, online training program called Founder Gym. Over the course of the program, Shani and founders from around the world received training from seasoned founders and investors from firms like Y Combinator and Backstage Capital. The program helped Shani improve her company—schools using Possip now get more parent feedback in a month than they previously received in a full year, and 100 percent of Possip’s first schools outperformed their district in achievement or growth.

To bring a diversity of perspectives to the startup community and empower more founders like Shani, we’re becoming a founding partner of Founder Gym. We’ll provide scholarships for people to attend the Founder Gym training program, which addresses the challenges that underrepresented founders face, like access to networks and funding.

Big ideas can come from anywhere, but the resources needed to succeed are not evenly distributed. We proudly took an early bet on Founder Gym to help them achieve their mission of developing the next generation of great leaders. And in the words of Mandela SH Dixon, CEO of Founder Gym, “As any founder knows, you never forget the first people to say ‘yes’ to your dream.”