Kodiak was an online gradebook that automatically recorded student progress in educational apps on the iPad and iPhone, sharing the outcomes with parents and teachers.
I co-founded, built, and ran Kodiak with my friend, Ben Gotow.
I made this 2 minute explainer video for Kodiak.
The first iPad was released in 2010, and it quickly showed promise as a tool for education. However, it lacked some valuable capabilities. Teachers couldn't easily monitor the activity of a classroom full of students, and there was no easy way to record how students were making progress across their apps.
We spotted this opportunity, bringing these features and more to the iPad with Kodiak.
Automatic progress tracking
Ben & I made Kodiak from scratch, building the product and developing partnerships with app developers and school systems.
The two of us did all design and development in-house. We were product people at heart, and making things is what we loved to do.
An early wireframe of Kodiak's homepage
The final homepage we designed & built
Testing the Concept
We built several iterations of Kodiak on our way to releasing it, making prototypes and testing them with local teachers. The feedback validated our core concept and helped us spot many small improvement opportunities.
Testing a Kodiak prototype with a local teacher
Learning to Sell
While Ben & I had strong product skills, we weren't experienced businessmen. Nashville's Entrepreneur Center gave us loads of coaching and support, for which we'll always be very grateful.
I had to hone my sales skills to learn how to pitch our company to investors. Thinking about our product in this way gave me a new perspective on how design and business fit together.
Presenting at Nashville's Entrepreneur Center
Pitching Kodiak at SXSW EDU
Kodiak successfully integrated with about a dozen iOS apps and was piloted in the classrooms of a Nashville-area elementary school. We built a working platform from scratch and shipped it to real customers.
We eventually shut Kodiak down after struggling to secure enough partnerships to make the platform a viable business.
I take pride in the fact that Kodiak was first to market with some innovative features. Although Kodiak didn't achieve the success we had hoped for, the experience was extremely valuable to my understanding of product design. I am grateful for the lessons learned.