Instin co-founders Ryan Niemeyer (far left), Rodrigo Neri and Keith Entzeroth at our Thinc Iowa event in October.
But in May, the trio quit their jobs to begin building a startup, as well.
Their startup, Instin, is a Kansas City, Mo. company focused on educational management apps. Its first app, a homework management platform for students called myHomework, was already off to a strong start thanks to its beginnings four years ago as Neri’s college side project.
“First the app was just for free and I used it more for a resume builder,” Neri said Thursday. “A lot of students really liked it, but I never thought anything of it.”
Last year, myHomework recorded 1.3 million downloads, bringing its total count to well over 2.5 million downloads across iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Now, Neri, Entzeroth and Niemeyer are working to round out Instin’s educational offering, releasing an app for teachers and planning an app for parents.
It’s app for teachers, Teachers.io, is an online platform that lets its users manage classes, share assignments and send lessons to students. Publicly released in November, the app can be integrated with myHomework (below).
At a high school in Akron, Ohio, for example, Neri said more than 25 teachers are using myHomework and Teachers.io to interact with their students.
Even with the launch and integration of Teachers.io, Instin still has its competitors.
“There’s several apps from big players right now,” said Neri, noting BlackBoard as one of Instin’s main competitors. “Back when I started this though we were pretty much the only one.”
Neri said Instin’s design and usability are part of its apps’ successes so far. With that in advantage in mind, Instin recently redesigned myHomework for web, mobile and tablet devices.
“A lot of people try to find another option that’s more user-friendly and simpler to use,” he said. “There are several, but we’re there, and we’re hopefully somewhat making a difference.”
Instin, which is self-funded, has more than 50,000 registered, paying users. The startup’s app payment program, however, will be changing. Previously, users paid to sync their accounts across devices, but now myHomework will now be free to all U.S. users. Instead, students may choose to pay $1.99 to remove ads.
In 2013, Neri and his team hope to begin integrating its products with even more schools, expand its team and improve the services it currently provides to its users.
Product updates include a Teachers.io feature that allows its users to also track student records and grades. Instin also plans to roll out an application geared towards parents to help track how their student is doing in classes and alert them when their child has an assignment due.