A few weeks ago, I had the chance to speak with 17-year old Femi Adebogun, the co-founder and CEO of Testify Software Solutions. Femi and I talked about his apprenticeship and the problems he faced in the system-much along the lines of activity lost or disengaged.

Along with a friend who faced agnate struggles, they developed MindMap, an edtech tool to helps agents learn about their students’ acquirements styles, interests, and career goals in a short period.

A young entrepreneur

My parents and I moved to America from Nigeria when I was three years old. My family had the same story that many immigrant families have, and we persevered through many struggles to digest in American culture. I always felt different, and it often showed, whether I spoke English with an accent, or ate altered foods than my classmates.

My parents worked long hours, caring for my continued family in Nigeria, and our actual family here in the states. For these reasons, I took care of myself and became absolute very quickly. I accepted being altered much better than most people do and took full pride in it.

Because we didn’t have much money, I abstruse how to be very crafty and solve problems in avant-garde ways. For example, when I moved to America from Nigeria, I sold soda and candy to my classmates. I bought four-packs of soda cans at the dollar store and would sell the cans to my classmates for a dollar; each one made 75 percent profit margins. I was able to buy myself shoes because my parents couldn’t afford to acquirement them for me.

Through these adventures as a child, I ample out how to create the most out of the aboriginal amount given to me. I also abstruse that if you create value for others, they will pay you in altered ways, and this shaped me into the person I am today.

Education in America

I’ve had an absorbing time so far in school, and one that I plan to abide to have in college. Throughout my education, I afflicted two altered schools for each level. I’ve abounding two elementary schools, two middle schools as well as two high schools.

My parents worked hard to get my ancestors and me into better living environments. Also, I accustomed a scholarship that accustomed me to attend two clandestine schools, which were active in my bookish progress. Attending assorted schools accustomed me to accept the gaps in our apprenticeship system early.

Since I’ve been in six audibly altered schools, I’ve seen how allegory the public apprenticeship system can be for kids. As a student, and more importantly, as a person, I progressed abundantly in some school environments but progressed slowly in others. I noticed the main differences in my growth came down to how affianced I was in the classroom acquirements experience.

At my accepted school, I didn’t feel complex in classroom acquirements and was abashed because my SAT scores rank in top five percent of the country. In other metrics, such as grades, the system placed me on the lower end of the spectrum. I accomplished the agents at my former schools knew me well and were able to make a better affiliation with me as a student, and most chiefly as a person.

My team and I were aggressive to create MindMap when one of our friend’s parents made him take a personality assessment. He was quite reserved, and his mom wanted to learn more about his interests to affix with him and to parent better. When he told us about the test, a light bulb went off and begged the questions: Could a agnate tool help agents affix with acceptance earlier, and can it abutment them in a way to meet students’ bookish and social needs on a more alone level?

To ensure we had something, my team and I spoke with dozens of educators and abstruse many absorbing things that caused disengagement. The two areas we noticed most: it takes an continued period for agents to accept and know their students, and there is a lack of apprenticeship technology tools that can help solve this issue.

Based on the acknowledgment from adroitness and students, we built a game-based program, and MindMap was born. MindMap is a 15-minute personality appraisal that helps agents make better apprentice access in a matter of days rather than months. By giving agents access to vital advice about new acceptance early, such as anecdotic unique acquirements styles, personality traits, and career interests, agents can engage, affix and help kids accomplish at a much faster pace.

After account the information, it then presents agents with actionable recommendations and strategies to best help their acceptance in the classroom from day one.

Our first raise was through an Angel broker along with accompany and family. We are strategically attractive at our next round with advice from our advising board.

Yes, in education, the hardest part is award out who makes decisions about purchasing or testing new products. We used our advantage as acceptance and abounding local school commune meetings. Many times we catholic all around the state to attend daylong conferences.

webrokOnce we got ourselves in places where admiral were present, we’d access them. We showed them the vision of the artefact and requested aftereffect meetings. The most important thing for us was to make sure the right people accepted we had a band-aid to fix a real problem.

It is important to be humble. We kept our heads down and worked hard to make sure we had a great product. We activated months ago, and out of thousands, they called us as one of the top 50 startups.

We remained humble and were accommodating to learn from the mistakes of other entrepreneurs before us. Also, we took the time to find and meet acknowledged entrepreneurs through sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. They shared their insights, mistakes and gave us admired advice.

Also, we focused on our strengths and weaknesses, so we could figure out how to antithesis our team and analyze what we needed to work on most.


A panel judge who works at a adventure basic firm, and also took part in allotment the companies for the appointment told me apprenticeship was an important factor. Also, she was aflame to see a group of acceptance who were trying to solve the issue of disengagement in classrooms, based on our direct adventures as students. Finally, she was afflicted how our artefact aimed to do fix the problem, and how far we’ve gotten with it. She was also happy about our recent affiliation with the Howard County School District.

The appointment helped us in many ways. We abstruse a great deal of new advice at the conference. We also have a new broker whose agreed to start off our seed round, and we’ll be acceptance some charters schools with lower income acceptance in East Palo Alto to use the affairs for free.

We we’re arrive to speak at a meetup in the Bay area and may be alive our business model a bit to allow parents to acquirement alone letters for their children.

Advice for young entrepreneurs

I afresh had the agitative befalling to talk to a large amphitheater of high school acceptance complex in the Future Business Leaders of America program. I told the admirers that being an administrator is not as alluring as it seems, and many times you will fail. However, you have to pick yourself up the next day. On the outside, it looks like the coolest career choice, but going through the accustomed grind and hustle is not for everyone.

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