By Marcella McCarthy
ConciergePad is in the #MiamiTech Startup Spotlight.
Security in schools has become an increasing source of concern in recent years. To assuage the fears of parents and school staff alike, Miami-based ConciergePad offers a tablet-based app that serves -- just as the name indicates -- as a concierge for school pickups.
But it involves more than just signing in upon arrival; the portal requires that you scan your ID and have your photo taken. In minutes, without the assistance of a human, ConciergePad runs a background and sex offender check on the person, including a cross-check with the school’s information about those listed on the “ok list” to pick up little Bobby. If anyone has been blacklisted by the school, that’s checked, too. If the scan results in any concerns, school staff are alerted via text message.
The founders of ConciergePad were part of 500 Startups Miami’s latest Growth Program cohort and pitched their startup, on the virtual Demo Day, alongside five other companies, in the hopes of wooing investor money. [See their pitch here.]
“We’re both dads of 3,” said Rene Perez, CEO and co-founder of ConciergePad, “so this problem was of genuine concern to us,” referring to Frank Porro, his COO and co-founder. In fact, the duo met through their kids who go to school together.
Perez, a “Miami boy” born and raised by Cuban parents, was exposed to entrepreneurship early on because his father, Rene Perez Sr., had a software business that had a successful exit in 1999. His dad retired for a few years, and then got back in the game, he said.
Perez was able to have a hands-on education in both business and entrepreneurship while putting in hours at his dad’s company.
"I always say I got a different kind of MBA while working with my dad. There were a lot of lessons to be learned there,” Perez said. His formal education, however, was at Notre Dame, where he earned his bachelors, and at Barry University, where he earned an MBA.
Porro, on the other hand, has a background in consulting and an MBA from FIU. The two joined forces in November of 2015 to start ConciegePad, which has been bootstrapped thus far.
Where they are now
What started as a school check-in service is now being used in the healthcare field -- specifically at nursing homes -- and also in office buildings. Their biggest corporate client? One of Miami’s anchor companies: Carnival Cruise Lines, which uses the visitor management tool at its offices.
Since 2015, ConciergePad has grown to serve 219 schools in 12 states. And this year, as schools and parents have been adapting to the challenges of COVID, Perez says that he and Porro take pride in playing a part in keeping kids COVID-free while at school, too.
While their main product is security, they’ve also built-in a COVID module that helps with health scans, social distancing, and a myriad of other school-related health risks. The fact that the technology doesn’t require a human to perform the steps is an added benefit.
Their COVID tool has been a door-opener for their larger product. The pair, the only full-time employees at the company, used the opportunity to later upsell the full product to clients.
Schools often pay for ConciergePad -- which utilizes a SaaS business model -- via grants that relate to school safety. In recent years, laws such as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Highschool Public Safety Act passed in 2018, and Alyssa’s Law, which relates to law enforcement response time in the case of a school emergency, have created awareness and freed up funds to increase security in schools.
Growth: “We have been doubling our revenue month over month for the last 3 months and have a compounded monthly growth rate of 122%”
Target Market: “We serve mainly 3 different verticals, which are K12, healthcare and businesses.”
Funding: While the company has been self-funded so far, they are now looking for outside capital.
They’re hiring: “We are going to hire and need 2 new positions. We are looking for someone to head sales and to help create strategic channel partners and we are also going to hire another developer.”
Photo at top of post is ConciergePad co-founders Frank Porro, at left, and Rene Perez and was provided by ConciergePad.
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