Another Triangle Startup Weekend: Education is in the books, resulting in ten more educational technology companies in the Triangle.
More than 90 participants registered for the 48-hour design-thinking workshop that paired educators, developers, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals together to address major problems in K-12 education. In total, more than 150 people were involved in the weekend as participants, spectators, volunteers, coaches, judges or organizers.
Participants pitch ideas on Friday, form teams by the end of the night, and develop working prototypes which are presented to a panel of judges on Sunday afternoon.
“What happened at Triangle Startup Weekend: Education is what’s needed in education to disrupt the status quo,” said Ben Owens, a math and physics teacher from Brasstown, NC. Owens traveled four hours from Cherokee County, NC to participate in the event.
In the hours leading up to the final presentations, companies put finishing touches on their minimum viable products and prepared their pitch decks. Owens was a co-presenter of PNEWT, a company that prepares high school students for professional jobs and internships.
“It’s been an incredible experience,” said Owens, “I’d absolutely travel this far to do it again.”
Teams collaborated to form companies to address parent engagement, improve student outcomes, beef up funding for educational projects, and enhance communication between parents and teachers.
Jake Marold was one of two students that participated in the event. Marold, who formerly participated in Triangle Startup Weekend: Maker, pitched one of 42 ideas during Friday night’s “Pitch Fire.”
Marold, 14, led a team to build aBay, a rewards-based app for students that distributes incentives based on a student’s report card. He pitched the idea on Friday, worked with his team and coaches on Saturday, and presented to judges on Sunday.
Startup Weekend: Education—The Winners
The winning pitch came from Math!nfusion, an online program that would pair experienced math teachers with students to enhance curricular progression in line with the Common Core State Standards.
“Teachers are not prepared to teach Common Core math,” said Jere Confrey of Math!nfusion, who is also the Joseph D. Moore distinguished professor at NC State University, “They have limited exposure to high-quality professional development, and they’re not paid enough to get it.”
Many times, said Confrey, teachers pay for the professional development they need out of their own pocket—or by scrounging together donations from family and friends.
Imagine a platform that could certify teacher’s professional development hours through tutoring students that want assistance with mathematics material. That’s the idea behind Math!nfusion—an idea that won top honors as “Best Overall” and “Best Business Model.”
The company won a guaranteed interview with the investment team at Imagine K12, the education incubator, as well as an interview for admission to the 4.0 Schools “Education Launch” incubator in New Orleans.
Other category winners included:
- Educational Impact: My Support Village, a mobile application that facilitates better communication between parents, teachers, and the student. The app was specifically designed for parents of special-needs students and presented to judges by Terrance Ruth.
- Best Customer Validation: Village, an application that connects teachers and parents via a proprietary text-messaging platform to ensure lines of communication stay open, presented to judges by Charles Campbell, Nate Branscomb, and Rebecca Asser.
- Best Execution and Design: EduLaunch, the only educational crowdfunding platform where anyone can start a project to fuel the future. The EduLaunch team completed their platform, partnered with a local nonprofit, and has already funded four projects. See their completed site at www.edulaunch.co.
All winning companies will receive an hour-long consultation with a 4.0 Schools Incubator Company and a two-hour legal consultation with Wyrick Robbins. The companies will also be invited to apply to the <code>worthy incubator in an “early-selection” pool, from which one team will be selected.
Groundwork Labs, based in Durham, NC, will select one of the 10 presenting companies to participate in the StartupNEXT program hosted at the facility.
EduLaunch also received the “People’s Choice” Award, selected by participants of Triangle Startup Weekend: Education. One of the four successfully funded projects was a $250 project that the team set up to surprise Jake Marold of aBay with the funding needed to purchase his own laptop to continue his entrepreneurial career.
Organizers of the event also announced a series of related events:
- Triangle Startup Weekend: Diversity, to be held at American Underground @Main Street in May 2015;
- Triangle Startup Weekend: Kids, to be held in Autumn 2015;
- Triangle Startup Weekend: Social Impact, to be held in August 2015;
- The UP America Summit, a gathering of more than 120 community organizers from entrepreneurial centers across the country, held in September 2015.
Want more? Photos, tweets, and more are available on Twitter @TSW_EDU or on the Triangle Startup Weekend Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/trianglestartupweekend