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Last week I attended a VentureOut Edtech Pitch Night, the culminating event of a one-week boot camp for edtech founders. Entrepreneurs gave a two-minute pitch of their products to a panel of four investors and received feedback on how they might improve their sell. The bulk of attendees were associates at venture capitalist firms looking for companies in which to invest. Based on my conversations with them, their two key criteria were:  
If you're writing a startup spotlight, check out the National Venture Capital Association's own version. Check it out for quick stats on: State Industry Year of First Venture Funding VC Investors Employee Count Also, filter results by state or by industry. Interestingly, there is only ONE company listed under the "Education" category. Even 2tor.com is placed under the "Internet Related" category.
Details & Back-story Highlighter promises to help learners to better "save, share, and comment" on e-texts and e-books. The three founders— Josh Mullineaux, Matt Blancarte, and Nate Whitehill— all experienced founders in the startup space, united forces and entered the inaugural class of
The Details & Back-story: Urtak founders Marc Lizoain and Aaron Gibralter plan to take over the world one addictively social poll at a time. By providing an insanely easy interface in which to create, respond to, and visualize poll questions, the team has made an otherwise boring activity— surveying—fun and fast. Liz...
The Details & Back-story Slader is a NYC-based ed tech company established in 2009 by co-founders Scott Kolb and Kyle Gerrity. It is a web-based platform for students to view and share detailed solutions to math, science, English, and history questions found in almost 300 American high school textbooks across the US. How does it work? Students find solutions to specific questions in their textbooks by first searching the Slader site for the textbook containing their question. Students then enter the page number on which their question(s) can be found. They can then browse the results for answers and in-depth solutions. For all you visual folk, you can walk through their demo video below. Please feel free to comment, too!
The Details & Backstory Schoolzilla was launched by Aspire Public Schools, a leading charter school management company in California. The Aspire team currently serves over 12,000 predominantly underprivileged students. The goal of Schoolzilla is to create a platform for di...
The Details & Backstory Notesolution, the largest notes sharing platform for over 20 post-secondary institutions across Canada, is a Toronto-based startup developed by young entrepreneurs Jack Tai, Kevin Wu, and Jackey Li. They have over 40,000 registered students who share about 75,000 notes. Notesolution claimed success at Montreal's accelerator program called Founder Fuel, raising $400,000. Unique Point of Differe...
The Details & Backstory Noodle was founded by two edtech vets, Joe Morgan and Rob Ryman, both of whom have extensive industry experience ranging from founding 2Tor to the Princeton Review and Kaplan. Noodle offers a free platform for discovering and matching users with educational opportunities including K-8 private schools, tutors, MBA programs and much more. Users are matched with opportunities based on their profile and the results of questions created to generate “smart” recommendations by algorithms that power the platform and are easily shareable via social media. Unique Point of Difference As Megha covers in her first-hand review published this past spring, Noodle offers a unique clearinghouse of information for prospective students that, while not a new concept, provides an original presentation of information and “smart”, data-driven recommendations that make the most of a user's time. EdLab Relevance EdLab projects, including Ednode and Pundit, utilize data-driven recommendations based on user profiles and interests. To take the “intelligent search” model further we might want to take a cue from Noodle and explore integrating targeted user questions that would increase the “intelligence” of our platform. Also, our upcoming BLT database could employ this “smart” approach to provide user recommendations. Our Takeaway Noodle is a smart clearinghouse of educational opportunities.
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BranchOut, founded by Harvard MBA alum Rick Marini, is a social networking service that uses the Facebook platform to connect job seekers to jobs. With over 3 million job postings, it is the largest professional network on Facebook. Unique Point of Difference BranchOut is unique because it uses Facebook. The effect of capitalizing on the largest social networking platform is the resulting use of "real relationships to advance professionally"; professional...
MindShapes is an educational virtual gaming and app development firm based in London. It was co-founded by Shukri Shammas and Sami Labbabidi, who both, along with a small multidisciplinary team, bring extensive experience in the interactive, virtual gaming world. ...