Company in talks to sell app in Qatar
01 de junho de 2016
São Paulo – A Brazilian company is in talks to export a mobile app for school communication, ClassApp, to a Qatari organization. Based in Limeira, São Paulo, the enterprise was born in tandem with the tool, which is used in over 100 schools in Brazil. The app is also being implemented in a Canadian school and being tested in Norway, according to ClassApp CEO Vahid Sherafat.
The application is designed to facilitate communication between the school and students’ families. It is a messaging tool not unlike WhatsApp, with features tailored for the school environment. “It was designed with privacy in mind, as well as the manageability and safety that schools require,” says Sherafat.
The school creates a network and sends invitations out to concerned parties, including teachers, parents and students, and then they download the app. Participants are divided into groups, so the school can decide who they wish to address. Thus, the family can get in touch with the school’s office or coordinators via private messages, for instance. The app allows the school to know whether recipients have read its warnings or any other types of message.
“There were no tools for communicating with parents available; speaking with the families is a big challenge,” the CEO says, adding that emails are flawed since they are not always read. ClassApp includes a message-reading protocol. If a parent hasn’t downloaded the app yet, Mas the system automatically sends them an email or an SMS. “This is the first smart, proactive school communication platform,” says Sherafat. He explains that the app was developed based on studies.
The CEO holds a degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Campinas (Unicamp), with a major in Artificial Intelligence, and he is also a consultant on Innovation. He established the company alongside Samin Shams, an engineer with a degree from the University of São Paulo (USP) and a major in Mobile Platform Development. Shams is the CTO at ClassApp. Both have school-age children and they realized the need for a dedicated app so schools and families could communicate.
The app was designed in English first, but the engineers soon realized that there was a demand domestically as well. The tool and the company went online in 2014. Last year, the app was commercially launched, and in early 2016 it was introduced abroad, at the British Educational Training and Technology (Bett Show) in London, United Kingdom. ClassApp Sistemas, the only Brazilian exhibitor at the show, was selected to exhibit at a space intended for innovative products.
The event paved the way for prospecting, and the app was introduced to educational institutions around the world, including Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. According to Sherafat, several Arabs were attending the show, so schools in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also found out about the app. “The Eastern market is much like Brazil’s, family is a very strong institution there,” the CEO remarked. According to him, Arabs struggle with the same problems when it comes to school-parent communication. Sherafat is of Iranian descent.
In case the sale to Qatar goes through, the app will be used in Arabic. Currently, besides Portuguese and English, it is also available in Norwegian. Sherafat believes international demand will outpace the domestic one. He has good expectations regarding the United States, and is attending the ISTE Conference & Expo this June in Denver. ClassApp will also be on display in the innovation section.
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*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum