LaunchPad Insights are designed to raise the thinking of the entire EdTech ecosystem through shared learning. We asked Sports Science graduate, EdTech entrepreneur and mum of 4, Kym Hunter to share her experiences and journey founding Champion Life, a program that encourages lifelong healthy habits in school children.
Determined to engage kids in sport and activity, Kym started a social enterprise bringing high profile athletes and ambassadors to motivational events in schools. Questioning the value of one-off events to impact lasting change, combined with the prohibitive cost of the events; Kym quickly realised this model was unsustainable. Not willing to give up on her mission to help improve student wellbeing, Kym eventually found inspiration from reading an article about 3P Learning and mathletics, this sparked the idea for Champion Life as a digital platform. With this new vision, Kym undertook market research and determined there was a clear need for an EdTech resource to support schools in improving the wellbeing of their communities.
“I loved that a tech platform meant it could reach pretty much anyone, particularly schools who were under resourced in terms of health and physical education”.
In order to get an MVP, Kym surrounded herself with educators and “techies” with the knowledge and a shared passion for improving wellbeing in kids; ultimately finding her tech team though the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Engage Research Lab. Kym says they got the user experience for the kids right from the start; “They loved it”, although recognises the teachers setup process was too labour intensive initially.
Kym says that although she felt remote from EdTech hubs living on the Sunshine Coast, it didn’t stop her from connecting with the community and seeking out and taking advice. She cited her biggest challenge initially as her own confidence when dealing with potential investors and delivering what she thought was a “polished pitch” which made raising capital “one of the hardest things”. Kym says she met with countless potential investors who were very direct and often critical of her vision and had very little interest in hearing her out. Kym believed her for-purpose company was “vitally important”; and with a very clear vision of the impact in mind she kept persisting.
When seeking a potential investor, apart from the financial component, Kym says to look for someone with a shared mission or vision and someone who has patience. “Building a business doesn’t occur overnight and you need someone who will support you when things get hard, because they will get hard”. Kym cites her lead investor as her mentor, “he is my go-to for whenever I have a question, his calm support has been instrumental in my success so far”.
Kym’s advice to other EdTech startups looking to get funding is “persistence and preparation”. Find people who will ask you the hard questions so that when you meet a potential investor you are already prepared.
The seed funding for Champion Life in 2017 enabled improvements to the MVP and the introduction of additional value-add products. The commercial launch into schools in Term 2 2018 with quantitative and qualitative analysis, as well as anecdotal evidence from customers confirmed a strong product-market fit. Shortly after, Champion Life was awarded a $255,000 Accelerating Commercialisation grant from AusIndustry and was chosen as an official delivery partner of Sport Australia’s Exemplary School Pilot Program and will be promoting and measuring physical literacy through the platform.
Kym says Champion Life has since attracted interest from International Schools and hopes to start working with these in the near future, she is also looking forward to launching the secondary resource in mid-2019 currently in testing.
Kym Hunter will be presenting LaunchPad Insights ‘Raising your first round? Look beyond traditional VCs’ at Entrepreneur Haus, Brisbane.
Champion Life is a SaaS platform for K-12 to engage young people in physical and health activity and facilitate the development of lifelong healthy habits. Champion Life is a whole school resource consisting of 3 age appropriate elements built on a foundation of content delivered by “real-life” role models. Champion Life role models provide the ideal figures for students to aspire to and emulate. Their diversity in age, gender, ethnicity, skills, life experiences and personalities caters for the diversity of characteristics in participating students. Being able to relate to the role models and hold them in high esteem allows students to engage with Champion Life and embrace positive health and wellbeing practices that then develop into lifelong healthy habits.