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EdTech company Kami reaches 27 million users

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3 September 2021

Software that started as a way for three University of Auckland students to collaborate on their study notes has recently hit 27 million users worldwide. Kami’s cloud-based platform allows educators and students to annotate, view, edit, and collaborate on digital documents from anywhere, transforming the way educators engage and interact with their students.

Kami experienced astronomical growth in 2020 as schools around the world quickly responded to Covid-19 by adopting digital solutions to engage with students remotely. That year, they grew from 8 to 22 million users in 180 countries, welcoming an average of one million new users per week during the height of global Covid-19 lockdowns. 

Kami was recently named a finalist in the “Exporter of the Year to the USA over $10 million” category at the 2021 AmCham-DHL Express Success and Innovation Awards.

Another example of Kami’s success is in its growing team. Co-founder and CEO Hengjie Wang says. “Over the past year, Kami has more than doubled to a team of more than 50 – most right here in Auckland. This comprises more than 50% female employees, and with at least 17 ethnicities represented across the diverse team.”

Keeping their global community at the heart of what they do has been key to dealing with Kami’s rapid growth. Co-founder and COO Alliv Samson says, “Innovation has been a crucial pillar in all facets of Kami’s operations, from inception right through to its current scaling and growth. For a company that is still a relatively small team, yet has a product that is used by more than 27 million people worldwide, well-organised, helpful and consistent customer communication is vital for growth and innovation. 

“Kami places heavy importance on its community when looking at innovations and this is a constant cycle of improvements. For example, our CEO Hengjie also leads the customer success team. As part of this role, he speaks to a minimum of six international users every day to gain insights into what is performing well, and what needs to be adjusted to suit their usage.” 

More than half of the Kami team speak to users on a daily basis, ensuring they are aligned on what is needed to help classrooms thrive and continue to deliver to teachers’ and students’ evolving needs. Kami’s continued product innovation has brought a plethora of benefits to users including saving teachers’ time, improving learning outcomes, and increasing student engagement in both physical and digital classrooms. Enabling teachers to move into paperless education also saves schools money and provides better outcomes for the environment.

Kami began in 2012 when Alliv, Hengjie, and fellow co-founder and CTO Jordan Thoms entered their idea (called Notable at the time) into the $100k Challenge, Velocity’s flagship business planning competition delivered by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). They made the finals and gained a place in CIE’s Launchpad programme where they had access to resources and support to further develop their start-up.

Velocity was great for us to test and know more about entrepreneurship,” says Alliv. “We learned so much in a short period of time while also meeting a lot of important people. It was through Velocity that we met our Chairman and Chief Revenue Officer Bob Drummond and one of our early investors Rudi Bublitz from Flying Kiwi Angels. When you join Velocity, you don’t just join to win. You learn and grow every aspect of your business and entrepreneurial life.”

For Kami, the future of education looks like connectedness, co-creation, and personalisation from a learner-first approach. Students will be able to learn and collaborate from anywhere, anytime, and receive real-time feedback and guidance. In essence, it is equitable learning for all.

Hengjie says, “The pandemic has led to the largest disruption of education ever, presenting a unique opportunity to take a leap forward with the systems and methods that can help teachers deliver quality, personalised education for all. To achieve this we need more support for educators leading the digital transformation of learning, investment in digital literacy and infrastructure, an evolution towards learning how to learn, and strengthened links between formal and non-formal education.”

University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education
University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education

social media

3 September 2021

Software that started as a way for three University of Auckland students to collaborate on their study notes has recently hit 27 million users worldwide. Kami’s cloud-based platform allows educators and students to annotate, view, edit, and collaborate on digital documents from anywhere, transforming the way educators engage and interact with their students.

Kami experienced astronomical growth in 2020 as schools around the world quickly responded to Covid-19 by adopting digital solutions to engage with students remotely. That year, they grew from 8 to 22 million users in 180 countries, welcoming an average of one million new users per week during the height of global Covid-19 lockdowns. 

Kami was recently named a finalist in the “Exporter of the Year to the USA over $10 million” category at the 2021 AmCham-DHL Express Success and Innovation Awards.

Another example of Kami’s success is in its growing team. Co-founder and CEO Hengjie Wang says. “Over the past year, Kami has more than doubled to a team of more than 50 – most right here in Auckland. This comprises more than 50% female employees, and with at least 17 ethnicities represented across the diverse team.”

Keeping their global community at the heart of what they do has been key to dealing with Kami’s rapid growth. Co-founder and COO Alliv Samson says, “Innovation has been a crucial pillar in all facets of Kami’s operations, from inception right through to its current scaling and growth. For a company that is still a relatively small team, yet has a product that is used by more than 27 million people worldwide, well-organised, helpful and consistent customer communication is vital for growth and innovation. 

“Kami places heavy importance on its community when looking at innovations and this is a constant cycle of improvements. For example, our CEO Hengjie also leads the customer success team. As part of this role, he speaks to a minimum of six international users every day to gain insights into what is performing well, and what needs to be adjusted to suit their usage.” 

More than half of the Kami team speak to users on a daily basis, ensuring they are aligned on what is needed to help classrooms thrive and continue to deliver to teachers’ and students’ evolving needs. Kami’s continued product innovation has brought a plethora of benefits to users including saving teachers’ time, improving learning outcomes, and increasing student engagement in both physical and digital classrooms. Enabling teachers to move into paperless education also saves schools money and provides better outcomes for the environment.

Kami began in 2012 when Alliv, Hengjie, and fellow co-founder and CTO Jordan Thoms entered their idea (called Notable at the time) into the $100k Challenge, Velocity’s flagship business planning competition delivered by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). They made the finals and gained a place in CIE’s Launchpad programme where they had access to resources and support to further develop their start-up.

Velocity was great for us to test and know more about entrepreneurship,” says Alliv. “We learned so much in a short period of time while also meeting a lot of important people. It was through Velocity that we met our Chairman and Chief Revenue Officer Bob Drummond and one of our early investors Rudi Bublitz from Flying Kiwi Angels. When you join Velocity, you don’t just join to win. You learn and grow every aspect of your business and entrepreneurial life.”

For Kami, the future of education looks like connectedness, co-creation, and personalisation from a learner-first approach. Students will be able to learn and collaborate from anywhere, anytime, and receive real-time feedback and guidance. In essence, it is equitable learning for all.

Hengjie says, “The pandemic has led to the largest disruption of education ever, presenting a unique opportunity to take a leap forward with the systems and methods that can help teachers deliver quality, personalised education for all. To achieve this we need more support for educators leading the digital transformation of learning, investment in digital literacy and infrastructure, an evolution towards learning how to learn, and strengthened links between formal and non-formal education.”


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