Yesterday LearnLaunchX, the Boston-based edtech accelerator founded in February, announced the first class of startups that will participate in their three-month program. LearnLaunchX was the first education-focused accelerator coming out of Boston and the East Coast as a whole (followed closely by Socratic Labs in New York). LearnLaunchX follows in the steps of Palo Alto-based edtech accelerator Imagine K12 and is trying to bring the edtech scene to the opposite coast. The accelerator will provide a total $350,000 to each startup chosen to participate in the program. This amount covers seed funding, office space, and guidance from the LearnLaunchX mentors.
“We interact with hundreds of entrepreneurs and new companies each year,” said Elieen Rudden, LearnLaunchX co-founder in a press release. “These startups were carefully selected from a large, highly competitive pool for their rich potential to help transform education by engaging and empowering learners and educators, and enabling institutions to navigate change and pressing challenges. As LearnLaunchX alumni, they’ll be poised to scale, grow and emerge as both successful businesses and education innovation leaders.”
Before founding LearnLaunchX, Rudden served as the chief officer of college and career preparation within the Chicago public school system. LearnLaunchX mentors comprise a mix of entrepreneurs, policy makers, and executives.
The new class of LearnLaunchX startups are outlined below. Descriptions are taken from the LearnLaunch X website.
- Listen Edition: Public radio stories, lesson plans and activities that enliven STEM and social studies curriculum, foster critical thinking and listening skills, and align with Common Core
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State Standards (CCSS), led by respected public radio reporter Monica Brady-Myerov.
- Createbiz: An online business school and professional development network for the new creative economy. Createbiz delivers affordable and practical, instructor-led online courses and programs designed for the lifestyle of the mobile creative professional. Founded by Dave Kusek, former CEO of the successful online music school Berkleemusic.
- Gradeable: A new assessment and feedback tool that helps teachers give students smarter, faster feedback and reduces their overall workload. Developed by a team from MIT and Harvard, it uses optical character recognition to handle paper inputs in both written answer and multiple choice formats, and provides simple, visually appealing reports.
- Cognii: Using powerful natural language processing technology, Cognii enables automatic assessment of students’ essay answers. Cognii helps learning service providers create personalized and engaging learning environments based on students’ written responses to open-ended questions.
- Empow Learning: Transformative experiences that empower young learners to create and build using technology, to discover their superpowers, and to make lasting contributions to their own futures and to the world around them. Empow is a successful STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) afterschool and summer program engaging kids in grades 4-10, which is poised to grow to new communities and regions.
- Countdown: A planning tool for creating Common Core-aligned instruction that allows teachers and districts to map standards by day across the school year, link curricular resources, share calendars, manage changes and create a record of what is taught. Countdown improves pacing, increases the effectiveness of co-teaching and supports standards-based teaching and learning.
- eduCanon: Powerful, easy-to-use tools to create online direct instruction that links videos, assessments and student interaction and lets teachers quickly identify and track students’ grasp of concepts. Created by teachers, for teachers.
- Intellify Learning: Provides a standards-based instrumentation framework for online course developers and schools, curriculum and learning designers, and ed tech application developers. Led by LearnLaunchX entrepreneur-in-residence Chris Vento, former CTO of Blackboard, WebCT and Cengage, Intellify’s cloud-delivered data and analytics drive the progressive refinement of on-line learning experiences.
“Boston is a natural hotbed for education innovation, and we are delighted that the LearnLaunchX team is providing the leadership to help us grow and scale here,” notes Gradeable Founder and CEO Parul Singh. “We already love our mentors, and can’t wait to get started.”
Readers, do any of you utilize the services offered by any of these startups? Sound off in the comments below, or share your thoughts on Twitter to @Technapex or @ce_doyle.