Kaleidoscope, a scholarship-building startup that participated in gener8tor’s first Minneapolis accelerator in 2017, has raised $1.3 million in an oversubscribed seed round led by Gopher Angels, Kaleidoscope founder and CEO Greg Dehn told Minne Inno.
Kaleidoscope’s marketplace connects potential funders (like corporations, foundations or high-net-worth individuals) to students. Kaleidoscope designs, implements and administers these scholarships on behalf of funder organizations.
Students can use the Kaleidoscope platform for free. Kaleidoscope acts as a “common app for scholarships” by allowing students to apply using the same information for multiple scholarships. Organizations or individuals looking to fund students are charged a flat rate to build and list their scholarship on the platform.
Dehn said that this process benefits Kaleidoscope’s clients because they pay less in administrative fees, and are able to donate more money to students as a result. He added that it also helps organizations emphasize their brand by forming stronger, deeper connections with students.
Kaleidoscope plans to use the majority of its $1.3 million seed round to hire more employees and transition to sales growth, Dehn said. The team currently has five full-time and two part-time employees. Kaleidoscope aims to grow that number to 12 or 15.
“We want to expand the product to get more scholarships to more students,” Dehn said.
After spending around two decades working in the private sector, Dehn established Kaleidoscope in 2016 as a way to bring “new and better technology” to the scholarship market. He was inspired to do so both because of his professional expertise and because of his experiences as a student whose undergraduate education was 100 percent funded by private scholarships.
Kaleidoscope was one of five companies that participated in gener8tor’s first accelerator class in Minneapolis last summer. Each of the startups received around $90,000 in funding, in addition to mentorship and potential connections to followup capital. Dehn said that the experience helped “accelerate the maturation” of Kaleidoscope.
“As an entrepreneur, you can find yourself in a bit of an echo chamber,” Dehn said. “At gener8tor, you work with people who have an immense breadth of strategy and experience. It helped validate test assumptions I’d made as a founder.”