'FOCUS OR DIE': LESSONS FROM NEW ZEALAND'S FASTEST GROWING COMPANY

Article Source: Reweti Kohere, The Spinoff

Kami co-founders Jordan Thoms, Hengjie Wang, Alliv Samson and Bob Drummond (Photo: Supplied; additional design: Tina Tiller)


Education technology platform Kami has experienced phenomenal pandemic-fuelled growth. Reweti Kohere learns its success dates back to a critical decision, and some advice from its ‘designated adult’.


For nearly 40 minutes, I watch Hengjie Wang over Zoom all but get swabbed for Covid-19. The chief executive of New Zealand-based education technology platform Kami is at his home when our video call connects, and he apologises in advance for any disruption his ensuing rapid antigen test might throw up – he’s got a flight to catch the next day. I too apologise for the surging, noisy spectacle outside my apartment as window cleaners water blast the exterior. “Any more challenges for this call?” asks Bob Drummond, Kami’s chief revenue officer, warning that his internet connection may drop out any minute.


Life stops for no one, and Kami’s founders aren’t slowing down. “We’re hiring people to catch up to where the business is at,” says Drummond, an indication of the nearly decade-old Auckland-based company’s success over the last three years. Kami’s web-based platform lets teachers and students share learning resources, foster better engagement and interaction, conduct virtual classes and collaborate, edit, annotate and attach audio and video notes on digital whiteboards. During the first wave of Covid-19 in 2020, tens of millions of customers, many of whom were teaching and learning from their locked-down homes, could use Kami’s products free of charge after the company removed subscription costs, a decision Drummond says ensured users had a platform to keep learning amid the disruption. While Kami remains free for New Zealand schools, and a basic user plan and trial are complimentary, annual subscriptions start at $99.