Formed in 2016, CRADL is a partnership between Brad Snyder and Brandon Clarke focused on putting Phoenix at the forefront of exploration and innovation in technologies, media, products, and services that help delight, and even save children and families. CRADL’s mission is to help professionals and entrepreneurs recognize that children are students and athletes and brothers and sisters and gamers and much more—at the same time. Programming, educating, and creating with the whole child in mind will result in better products and services that will move society from reaction and symptom-treating towards solutions, more supportive communities, and a stronger economy.
As proud fathers, our children are at the center of our worlds and, along with our wives, we are incredibly grateful to have the means to provide them a life of comfort and adventure. As entrepreneurs with several ventures between us, we’ve aligned our passion for what inspires the life and learning of kids with our individual skill sets. Brad as a child-life specialist, author, researcher, and founder of New Amsterdam Consulting, and Brandon as an avid youth sports coach, startup mentor, and co-founder of the StartupAZ Foundation.
CRADL is poised to tackle big challenges facing today’s youth. Starting with mental health therapy
in schools and the factors that affect school climate, we are in the early stages of developing WEXLER; a platform that will help millions of troubled students that lack access to resources to help cope with incidents of bullying, abuse, neglect, and other childhood traumas. Only 4.2% of school districts in the U.S. provide adequate access to counselors, yet nearly 45 million children have survived an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). WEXLER is designed to triage and de-escalate common and even not-so-common situations which in turn, will help make classrooms more productive, campuses safer, and improve the overall learning environment. The goal is to provide students with actionable tools and situational-relevant resources based on their needs while beginning to develop a circle-of-care with parents/guardians, teachers, and mental health professionals. Where possible, CRADL leverages the talent within the local startup community, partnering with innovative entrepreneurs who have the market-defining technologies that help move WEXLER forward.
CRADL is also evaluating a connectivity platform designed to reduce the unacceptably high turnover rate of foster parents and the multiple placements that plague children in the foster care system. The objective is to create a community that centers on better resourcing caregivers and providing actionable techniques and training based on the needs of the youth in their care. In partnership with Foster Arizona—a young and ambitious non-profit that works tirelessly in the foster care community—we aim to reduce the current 80% turnover rate of foster care parents by 30% in two years. Better resourced caregivers create a more sustainable environment and less disruption for our nearly 18,000 displaced youth in the state of Arizona.
And finally, CRADL’s signature event, the Cross-Border Youth Summit, was our way of reacting and responding to the increasingly loud and vitriolic rhetoric targeting the heritage of children and youths in the Southwest. CBYS was designed to be an opportunity to convene middle school students from Mexico and the United States to share experiences and propose solutions on topics ranging from prejudice and bullying to commerce, education, and media. CBYS 2018 hosted over 250 students from both countries who collectively made impactful statements about how they wish to be portrayed in the media, educated in their schools, engage positively with their peers in person and over social media, and generally treated by the companies making the products they consume. The plan for CBYS 2019 is nearly 800 students with an expanded agenda, a higher-level of engagement, and even higher quality connectivity.
Greater Phoenix is well-positioned to become the place to develop products and services for a more culturally diverse population. The demographics of Arizona now match what the demographics of the overall U.S. population are predicted to be in the coming decades, making this region the perfect lab to develop and test products, strategies, and business models in education, healthcare, transportation, and media.
Advice & Best Practices
Find a big problem that you’re passionate about that needs solving in a large enough market to make a sustainable and growing business out of it. If you lack experience in the industry or sector, find a job that allows you to build your expertise and become the most qualified person to solve the problem. 90% of startups fail. Avoid being in the majority by over-preparing. Ideas are easy, execution is hard. Find your tribe!
Surround yourself with people that push you to do and be better. No drama or negativity. Just higher goals and higher motivation. Good times and positive energy. No jealousy or hate. Simply bringing out the absolute best in each other.- Warren Buffett