Meet Our Year Four $500,000 Winner: Kangarootime

Kangarootime is the first modern mobile and web operating system for childcare centers, schools, and camps. They save teachers and administrators hundreds of hours of valuable time through automation so they can focus on the more important things. By completely automating payments and billing, scheduling, and attendance, child safety is increased. They provide a full document management strategy to make schools paperless and create workflows to ensure that students, parents, staff members, and management are always up-to-date.

Hometown: Long Beach, CA

Website: kangarootime.com

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Q&A With Scott Wayman, CEO

Finish this sentence: I’ll know my company has succeeded when…

…we have helped every school that needs us. We have very high expectations and know that our team and customers have collaborated to build something very special, life-changing, and enduring. With this in place, each Kangarootime team member understands the stewardship involved with carrying this out to help education.

Who are your heroes?

Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Roger Staubach, Mark Cuban, and Thomas Edison.

Describe your team in 3 words.

Brilliant, Miraculous, and Unstoppable.

The startup life can be a real grind. What do you and your team members do to blow off some steam or during downtime?

We have engaged in the following: legendary party buses, beer brewing, beer drinking, The Office ‘daily quotes from Dwight K. Schrute,’ funny videos for customers (which they love), and an ongoing Olympics that has included events like Nerf gun shooting, ping pong (or table tennis), and corn hole.

How did your team meet each other?

Rocco and I were high school football teammates and good friends. Patrick and I met in 2009 and crafted a successful networking relationship that eventually ended when I hired Patrick as the first hire at Medstreaming EMR in 2012. Kelly and I served on a volunteer commission together from 2008-2013. Lisa and Kelly have known each other from birth. Anna is married to Rocco, as they were introduced at Rocco’s first startup. German and Rocco worked for years together at 3DR. Matt begged us to let him intern and learn our core stack, and then we figured out he is one of the most brilliant coders on the planet and hired him full-time as soon as we could. Cathy was one of our first customers – fell in love with what we were doing!

What’s the biggest reward from running your startup?

Inspiration. As a CEO, I see a team that is growing every day and building products that have this rewarding delight factor for our customers. As Kangarootime employees, we see the goodness in people working tirelessly to provide impact for every body, mind, and soul that they help to build. It is beyond inspirational.

What problem is your startup solving?

Early education is proven to be one of the most incredible investments in the world. We help democratize access to early education by making directors and teachers more scalable. Our goal is to streamline the delivery model for every school and give every child access to quality education and cognitive development.

How can working in the Buffalo startup ecosystem help your startup thrive?

We believe that Buffalo offers us a unique opportunity to grow faster with capital efficiency and hire top talent quickly. We know that there is great power in the ecosystem that is growing in Buffalo and WNYEDF, and we see it as a competitive advantage to help grow our customer base here in the U.S. and in Canada.

Did you have an entrepreneurial side at a young age? Explain.

I started my first business at 10 years old, and took advantage of some gasoline in my Dad’s garage, an old lawn mower, and scorching 110° Texas summers. In college I launched Mighty Man Landscaping, and within three months had sold services to more than 100 local homes and businesses in Ottawa, Kansas. It was then I realized my psychology degree was never going to see the light of day in clinical practice because the intoxicating draw of selling and building a business had completely possessed me.

What’s something you wish you knew about being an entrepreneur when you were still in high school?

My Dad was this really hard-working, blue collar machinist, and our home life and finances seemed like nothing special, but always very stable. His best friend was a serial entrepreneur and brilliant guy that had busted on each of his early big ventures. He tried to spin up the first telephony network in Zaire, Africa in the mid 80s, and was crushed by the corruption and lack of infrastructure. He was a guy that took moonshots. I was convinced that entrepreneurship was this terrible, risky, family compromising, wildcatting, risk paradigm that left families stressed and not healthy.

Fast forward to my junior year in college. My Dad suddenly died after suffering a massive heart attack. My family was broke and with no financial support. My business in college was ‘motivated’ by needing to help support my large family and my widowed Mom. My Dad’s best friend, the entrepreneur, had become one of the most successful hedge fund managers on the planet – you would probably recognize him from one of his many books or appearances on CNBC. He was there to help our family through some really tough times. I have seen first-hand that if we do well and build great businesses, it gives us a great platform to give and do great things. I also saw that building a company might be tough, but ultimately it can be the safest option for a life career decision.

Describe a time when you failed – how did you respond or come back from it?

I REALLY screwed around in high school and graduated last in my small private school class of 20. Yes, I was last. It was pretty embarrassing when I applied for colleges. I was fortunate to do well enough on the SAT that I got accepted into a great small liberal arts college, where I earned partial football and track scholarships. My college advisor looked at my high school transcript with a 1.95 GPA and said, “Usually the dumb jock types don’t make it more than a semester.” I snapped back, “I am not dumb, I just did not apply myself.” He rolled his eyes and said, “Time will tell.”

I was motivated to prove Mr. King wrong. He was going to eat his words! That semester I made the Deans Honor Roll. The next I registered my first 4.0. My sophomore year, I was honored with an academic scholarship that covered the remainder of my school expenses. I was a two-sport athlete, a top double major student, and had worked my way into the most coveted job on campus as the Student Director of Computer Services. I also had a great paid internship with the county health department, and was building an incredible landscaping company with more than 150 homes and businesses as weekly customers. So essentially I went from being the worst high school student to a college two-sport athlete, honor student, intern, and business owner.

I think there are two takeaways to my story. Resilience is a muscle, so push yourself to pack your life with as many opportunities as you can and work as hard as you can to make them all successful. They might not all be successful, but I can tell you the full schedule I had those four years of college were the best training I could have ever endured to become a founder. Second, be your own Mr. King. Search for that push or urgency and try to be excellent in everything you do because it will grow your life portfolio.

In high school, you were voted:

Student Body President, captain of the football team, and Class Clown.

What’s your why? (Why did you create this company?)

In 2003, I was 28 years old and my mom was diagnosed with ALS. I became a guardian to my youngest brother, Chase. Like most parents, my professional life was demanding and I was not able to be with Chase before and after school. It was through the experience as a young parent-guardian with a child in childcare that I met wonderful people running extremely challenging businesses.

If you could go back in time and talk to yourself at the beginning stages of your company, what advice would you give yourself?

Invest more quickly in people and work extremely hard on systems that will scale them and give them more tools to succeed.

Is this your first startup?

No, I founded a startup within a startup. In 2010, along with 2 great engineers, I founded Medstreamings EMR business unit. We were joining a 4 year-old startup, but not really working with the other team. Our product was built in about six months, and we successfully broke into some very large health systems and largest private practices in the US.

When you can’t sleep, what do you do?

I exercise and listen to podcasts or audiobooks.

What do you fear?

I have an extremely irrational fear of snakes. I get physically creeped out when I see one on TV or in a picture.

Name a few items on your personal bucket list.

Travel to Ireland, Spain, and England. Live in Buffalo, New York.

What are you most proud of this far in your life? (It doesn’t have to be business related.)

I am proud that I landed my wife. She is the most stunning person I ever laid eyes on and talented person I have ever met. Her confidence is amazing, and after 10 years of marriage I am still in awe. I am proud of her wonderful parents, her mother serving as a pediatric nurse for nearly 40 years and her father as a police officer with a gigantic heart for service to others.

I am equally as proud of my family. My parents died when I was young and we overcame some serious hardships. My sister Robin tragically lost her beautiful son Maddox to a horrible autoimmune disease called myotonic dystrophy. My brother Joel lost his son Isaac to Leukemia. I am proud to have family members that drop everything when times are tough. I am proud to be from such a strong and resilient group of altruistic people.

 

For more about Kangarootime, check out their pitch from 43North Finals!