On July 27th, LearnLaunch welcomed guests into their offices for their annual Summer Showcase event. Over 20 unique edtech companies had the chance to display their education solutions and products. They also had the chance to tell their backstory as to how they started the company. Many of the founders came from an education background or they saw the value of Boston’s edtech sector and wanted to join.
Companies were placed either around the LearnLaunch cafeteria or placed in cubicles. In the middle of the event, every company had the chance to pitch to the attendees. Some companies have developed software to help students learn more about certain subjects, such as math or art. Others, such as SchoolHack, had created services to help students turn their passions into future careers.
While every company is doing something commendable to further education in some way shape or form, here are a few standout companies from the showcase.
Founded by University of Pennsylvania professor Eleni Miltsakai, Choosito! is a search engine designed to help students from grades K – 12 find research material. The engine allows users to refine searches, based on based on several educational categories (science, mathematics, English, etc.) and the results are pulled from a massive database, including results from Google, Bing and (if provided to the company) scholarly articles. Students can find material based on their reading level as well.
Steve Albanese is a veteran of the Boston tech scene; LearnBolt is his fourth startup. However, it is his first time being a part of an accelerator. LearnBolt is a mobile app allowing trainers in the hospitality business to create their own training videos on the fly. The app can be downloaded to a phone or tablet, and the user can film or take pictures from their tablet or phone. It allows for creating training videos on the job, as opposed to ones filmed by a production company. While the hospitality business is the company's first target, Albanese believes LearnBolt can be used to create unique lessons in the classroom.
Tuan Ho is a Northeastern University student who was applying for more than a few scholarships; over 100 to be exact. It was during this time, Ho realized writing an essay isn’t enough to show a student’s skill for a job. He and his friend, Joseph Alim, started ScholarJet, which allows students to find scholarships that are more applicable to showcase skills. Their display featured several scholarships devoted to engineering, but Alim told us their platform is not limited to engineering/manufacturing ones.
Remember those commercials about how kids should get out and play? Unruly Studios is creating a new type of physical activity for children; the first ever Active STEM experience. Founder and CEO, Bryanne Leeming, and her team have developed a game using Scratch coding. The game, named Splats, involves two devices that will light up and when it lights up, the players will hop on it. The programming allows for customization, such as light color, when a light will turn on or even modify the game to be something completely different! One of Leeming’s goals is to have parents/teachers and children collaborate with tech as well.
Walter Duncan is a public school teacher with more than ten years under his belt and has seen the struggle of grading software. He co-founded Quick Key with Isaac Van Wesep, which is a software allowing for more precise grading. Their software also allows teachers to personalize teaching materials to create a more personal connection with teachers and students. The company’s display showcased a successful case study from Carver High School.
There are dozens of ways to express your creativity on the Internet. However, what if you have difficulty with learning how to use something like Photoshop? Adobe After Effects? Of even how to code? Creatr is a platform which connects those wanting to learn how to use creative software with vetted instructors. Lessons are taught over video chat and the platform covers all kinds of creative outlets. CEO Jamall Oluokun said he has dabbled in nearly every creative outlet and wanted to give back to those who are struggling.