Dyslexia Entrepreneur Matt Strawbridge Heads to US
When Matt Strawbridge was a boy growing up in New Zealand, school became difficult. He couldn’t read given his dyslexia, and his grades suffered. Looking back, the experience isn’t filled with joy, he told Missoula Current reporter Martin Kidston. That raw childhood experience may be key to Strawbridge’s success as an entrepreneur and his status as the unlikely co-founder of the online learning lab known as Peoply, which could open an office in Missoula, Montana.
“School was not a happy place for me growing up,” Strawbridge told the Current. “I was at the bottom of the bottom of every class. I didn’t fit in.”
In a partnership with New Zealand-founded companies Rocket Lab and Ovio Mindfulness, the learning platform Peoply offers classes to small groups of kids. Each class is led by an inspiring facilitator, one Strawbridge likens to “your favourite babysitter.”
The coursework is designed for the needs of the individual child. One looks to build confidence among students while another opens their imagination through rockets and space. A third caters to children struggling with anxiety, stress or lack of focus.
Whatever the course, the goal is the same. It looks to build social skills, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity in participants.
“We recently partnered with the New Zealand Government to offer what we’ve developed to all the schools in New Zealand for free, starting next year,” Strawbridge said. “From there, it was like, ‘Now what?’ Lots of kids feel lonely. There was more that we could do.”
The platform currently operates in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, though Strawbridge and co-founder Tom Peoples, who is a student at Victoria University, are looking to launch in the United States.
“We want to launch into the United States and start selling,” Strawbridge said. “We are very keen and excited about the possibility.”
Original article by Martin Kidston, Missoula Current, November 25, 2019.