Former superintendent launches St. Paul edutech startup Yemyo


YemyoFrankie Poplau describes the education dynamic as a triangle, with the three points being represented by teachers, parents and students. Too often, she says, keeping those points connected is a cumbersome challenge.

She would know. Poplau spent more than two decades working in the education field, as a teacher, superintendent and CFO. During her time in the public sector, she formed a desire to create solutions that married tech and education in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our school systems.

And so she herself went back to school, earning an advanced degree in technology. Now, she has launched Yemyo, an edutech company based in St. Paul whose featured offering — called “Standard Sightlines” — is just now being released publicly.

On a basic level, the software solution is designed to enable instant sharing and collaboration when it comes to planning lessons and adhering to the varying standards in place in different areas and districts.

“One thing that happens, when you speak of curriculum, is that it is done in isolation. Students come later and parents come later,” Poplau says. “We are dedicated to keeping those parts moving at the same time.”

This is accomplished through a central interface that can be accessed by parents and teachers alike. Standard Sightline touts its simplicity and affordability, offering an easy communication channel that focuses on meeting educational standards.

Not only can schools incorporate feedback from students and parents through the tool, they can also use it to implement ideas and methodologies from around the country that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to access.

As another example of the software’s utility, Poplau points out that if a student were to move from Minnesota to Ohio in fourth grade, the new school could use the mapped data in Standard Sightlines to determine what kind of gaps may exist in that student’s education history — compared to students already in the district — and adjust accordingly.

The ultimate result is a more universally even learning experience for students everywhere, and a more efficient process on the administrative side. Poplau has a lot of confidence in the product because it’s being built based on her immense insight gained in the field as well as input from potential customers.

“I’m using every bit of my experience, my education and my expertise to get this right,” Poplau says. “We’re listening to schools, talking to them everyday. They’re building this product, actually.”

At a cost of $190 per month, per building, Poplau says this SaaS is highly affordable and she believes demand will grow as it gains traction. Currently Standard Sightlines is in beta, being used by about nine schools, but she says they’ve been in talks with dozens of schools in Minnesota as they prepare to start pushing this summer.

She hopes that, in short time, their product will become the standard for administrators everywhere.