By GREGORY ZELLER //
Award-winning multimedia presentation platform Buncee has rocketed past a major milestone.
This month, the Calverton-based “digital canvas” – which helps users create and share messages and presentations incorporating video, audio and other elements – notched its 100,000th user. That number had climbed past 107,000 by Wednesday morning, noted founder and CEO Marie Arturi, and interest in the innovative platform shows no sign of abating.
While Buncee’s easier-than-PowerPoint pitch still attracts its share of individual e-greeting consumers, the recent surge – 20,000 users since late November – is due primarily to global interest in Buncee For Edu, the company’s education-focused product line.
“All of our metrics are trending positively,” Arturi told Innovate LI. “But this is largely because of Edu.”
The “uptick” in new customers consists primarily of a mix of individual teachers using Buncee For Edu in their classrooms and school districts incorporating the tools on a larger scale, Arturi noted. The CEO cited partnerships with educators as far afield as Bulgaria, as well as particular interest in New Jersey’s Edison School District, where seven schools are now using Buncee.
“One school got it, then the next school wanted it,” she noted.
Such buzz is no surprise to Arturi. Students are learning “college-ready skills” as early as first grade, she noted, pointing to a host of tweets (and Buncees) from educators praising the platform’s ability to encourage multimedia creativity in even the youngest learners.
In one note, a teacher shared an 11-part book report, including videos and text, prepared by a first-grader. In another, a second-grade instructor thanked Buncee for “giving homework a whole new life,” according to Arturi.
One of the platform’s strengths is its ability to touch on other technologies. A school in Southold used Buncee for a “personal narrative project,” Arturi said, sending QR codes that took parents, via their smartphone or tablet, to their kids’ multimedia Buncee presentations.
Larger ventures, meanwhile, are having their own effect. Take the “global Valentine’s Day project” initiated by a Buncee user in Kansas – “It was really cute to see kids in Greece sending Buncees to kids here,” Arturi said – and ongoing collaborations with teachers in various foreign countries.
And the Calverton enterprise isn’t letting up. This week, Buncee representatives were scheduled to meet with educators in New Jersey and the Bronx; they also were coordinating a “Buncee Buddies” project between students in Southold and Eastern Europe.
While “it’s really fascinating to help students get this glimpse of the world,” working with teachers abroad creates enormous potential for the born-on-Long Island tech firm, Arturi noted.
Also speeding her startup toward greater user milestones: a new build-out designed specifically for full school districts, as opposed to Buncee For Edu’s current teacher-student focus. With new functionality that allows districts to incorporate their logos and other exclusive content – and new protocols allowing teachers to create and review Buncee-based quizzes – the district-friendly platform is being piloted in several regional districts and will be available soon for broader consumption.
“We just want to get some feedback,” Arturi noted. “But we’re ready to roll with the district-wide version right now.”
The CEO is also contemplating a Buncee-based “global peace project” involving teachers and students from across the Island, the county and the world – just part of an ongoing marketing strategy that “absolutely” will bring in the next 100,000 users before the end of 2016, Arturi said.
“We are growing rapidly,” she added. “We blew through 100,000 users, and the buzz is really positive.”