Six Ways an MBA Can Prepare You to Launch Your Startup


If you want to become your own boss, run a successful business in the future, and have a great startup idea in mind, then you may be considering your options for improving your business knowledge and skills now, in order to achieve better results in the future. If you’re considering going to college, then getting an MBA can be a great foundation for starting your own business, providing you with all the core knowledge that you need to understand pretty much every aspect of your startup and so much more.

In addition to what you’ll learn from classes and reading, studying for an MBA has a wide range of benefits for aspiring entrepreneurs. We’ve taken a look at some of the main ways an MBA can help you run and grow your own successful business.

#1. Become a Respectable Member of the Business Community:

No matter where you go, an MBA is a very well-respected qualification. Whether you’re in your hometown or traveling across the world, everybody in the business community will know what an MBA is and the amount of work and dedication that it takes to get one. Having an MBA as a business owner can be a great way to improve your standing in your business community, earning credibility and respect.

#2. Experience New Places and Cultures:

You don’t have to stay at home to get an MBA – there are several awesome business schools all around the world offering this program that you might want to consider. If you’re not sure where you’d like to study, then why not consider attending an event held by The MBA Tour? Check out The MBA Tour to find details of upcoming events which are held all over the world. As an attendee, you’ll have the chance to meet with people from business schools around the world, research different schools and programs, and make an informed decision when it comes to finding the right one for you. You can find their website here:

#3. The Confidence and Knowledge to Start Your Company:

Many people dream of starting their own business, but their company ideas sadly just never become a reality as they lack the knowledge needed to get started, or the confidence to take the plunge. So, if you want to make sure that your business idea becomes a successful reality in the future, then studying for an MBA is a great way to ensure that you have the foundation of knowledge, skills and confidence that you need. During your time studying the program, you will learn about all the different facets of running a business; as a result, you will likely require less trial and error than most when starting your own company.

#4. Improved Earning Potential:

So, you want to start your own business, but don’t forget that earning an MBA can also be a great back-up plan if your startup doesn’t work out as hoped. If your product or service idea doesn’t take off like you’d hoped it would, or if you change your mind about entrepreneurship down the line, then having an MBA qualification to your name can certainly help you land a career position with more responsibility and a higher paygrade. But even if you do decide to continue along the route of starting your own business, the skills and knowledge you’ll learn will give you an advantage when it comes to maximizing business profits. Either way, you’re likely to earn more with an MBA.

#5. Improve Your World Perspective:

Studying for an MBA – especially if you travel abroad to get your qualification, can be a great way to broaden your horizons and improve your view of the world. When you study in a country different to your own, you will be able to better understand a new place, a different culture, and how things function overseas. As a result, you will be able to develop a broader understanding of the global market, which can be an excellent step for your future business, especially if you plan to sell your product or service in overseas countries along with at home.

#6. Expand Your Professional Network:

Finally, another great reason why getting an MBA can help you with starting your own business is that it’s a great way to build and expand your professional network. As an MBA student, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with other business professionals – not just your tutors and professors, but also other students on your program. MBA programs are usually the type of qualification that individuals tend to go for after working in the business industry or running their own company for some time. So, you can expect to be studying alongside entrepreneurs, business managers, CEOs, marketing professionals, HR professionals and many more people who you can learn a lot from.

If you hope to start your own business in the future, getting an MBA is a great way to prepare.

Helpful Degrees Which Will Prepare You for Being a Business Owner


When you start a business, there is a lot to learn, and much of this has to be done as you go. However, you can certainly prepare yourself more effectively by learning as much as you can about business-related topics before you actually launch a venture. Read on for some of the most helpful degrees to consider studying if you want to be an entrepreneur.

Computer Science

Read any business magazine or newspaper article these days and you’ll see entrepreneur after entrepreneur who has made their fortune by developing an app or other software program which has been used and purchased by millions of people. In this digital age, knowing how to come up with tech-related products or services can be one of the best ways to become a successful business owner. As such, a degree in computer science can take you a long way.

Studying this area is useful in ways that goes beyond an actual product or service you create to sell too. Big data is extremely helpful in all industries, in many ways. For example, it can be utilized to cut costs, increase productivity, market and sell to consumers, improve customer service, streamline processes, and a whole lot more.

Having a background in computer science can help you to use and/or develop programs which automate tasks or reduce the amount of time required to complete them. It is also of benefit when you need to create a website for your business or use other tools to market it; plus knowledge in this area can help you understand and tap into emerging fields before your competitors.

You might wonder: how hard is a computer science degree? and, will the investment of time and money be worth it? However, just take a look at all the industries and businesses being disrupted by tech tools these days and you’ll soon see the commitment will be of great benefit on your entrepreneurial journey.


Another degree that’s top of mind for budding entrepreneurs is, of course, a business one. Programs such as MBAs and Bachelors of Business courses are the perfect options when you want to give yourself a thorough, overall understanding of how organizations work, not just locally, but all around the world.

When you complete a business degree, you will learn about topics such as sales, marketing, accounting, finance, economics, leadership, psychology, organizational management, administration, communication, international markets, and so on. You will have lots of different areas to choose from when deciding on subjects, and get the chance to enjoy practical placements and internships for on-the-job experience too.

Another benefit of business degrees, particularly MBAs, is that you get the chance to meet like-minded people from around the globe. You will connect with people who could go on to become not just your friends but also your sounding board, client, partner, investor, or employee as the years go by. As well, because business degrees tend to be made up of such diverse groups from many different nations, backgrounds, and cultures, you’ll have the chance to learn from and exchange ideas with people you might never have otherwise met.


In business, to achieve success you’ll regularly need to think about how other people view the world, and the wants and needs they have. This ranges from customers and employees, through to journalists, investors, lenders, suppliers, and more. As a result, if you learn about psychology, this can help you to run your business more profitably and effectively.

Through studying a psychology degree, you will become versed in theories on how the human brain works; how different personalities learn, interact, clash, and otherwise vary from each other; and how needs and wants can be determined by the actions, body language, words, and tones of people.

When you complete psychology courses, you’ll obtain knowledge which helps you to design products and services to best suit particular market segments, and you’ll better understand how to target the right potential clients, and how to cater to their desires well. You’ll be more effective at inspiring, motivating, engaging and leading a team, and at communicating with all sorts of people in all sorts of situations.

Psychology skills will guide you when it comes time to brand your business and to market your wares as well. Providing customer service that really satiates clients will also be easier, as will your ability to hire the right people and otherwise surround yourself with the best team possible.

How Earning an MBA Can Help Your Startup Succeed


If you’re like most aspiring entrepreneurs, you may be wondering whether you even need an MBA in order to succeed in the business world. After all, some of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs, people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, never even graduated from college. Can an MBA teach you the skills you need for success, or would it mean spending a lot of tuition money on a credential that would look great on your resume, but wouldn’t necessarily make or break your business venture?

While it’s true that you don’t need an MBA in order to succeed in business, earning this degree can have many benefits for aspiring entrepreneurs. MBA tuition isn’t cheap, but going into business without a solid foundation of b-school knowledge will mean learning the ropes through trial and error, and the mistakes you’ll make as you learn the ins and outs of the business world could end up costing you much more than the price of tuition. A business-school education will give you the chance to work the kinks out of your business plan, build valuable network connections with peers, and foster relationships with mentors, as well as teaching you the basic business savvy you’ll need to make it big.

Establish a Foundation

In order to succeed in business, you need to know what you’re doing. Sure, plenty of entrepreneurs learn the hard way, by making mistakes and picking things up as they go. But ultimately, leaping into a new business venture without a solid foundation of business knowledge could be costly.

An MBA will teach you about important aspects of running your own business, such as how to impose inventory and financial controls in order to prevent fraud; how to perform market research and understand the competitive landscape in which your business will operate; and how to form and implement marketing and e-commerce strategies. Earning an MBA can also leave you with valuable information about how to deal with investors, obtain funding from venture capitalists and maintain relationships with them, and how to expand without compromising the quality of your products. You’ll learn from the mistakes and successes of other entrepreneurs, running through case studies time and again until you could run a business in your sleep.

Polish Your Plan

You need more than just a good idea to succeed in business. You need a polished plan for how you’ll bring your idea to market. The stakes are high out in the real world; if your plan is flawed and fails, you could lose serious money. Worse, you could lose the faith of investors, meaning your next venture won’t get off the ground.

 Business school provides a safety-net environment to test your ideas and business plan with room for failure and improvement. You’ll be able to bounce your ideas off of peers and seasoned business veterans, to work out all
the kinks and get it ready for the ultimate proving ground that is the world of business.

Grow Your Network

     Whether you choose to enroll in an online MBA or go with a more traditional path, business school will put you into contact with other talented, knowledgeable, and ambitious aspiring entrepreneurs. You’ll be exposed to new perspectives, cultures, and ideas, then form strong bonds with individuals who could prove to be valuable connections down the road. When you need some trustworthy managers or corporate connections in the future, you’ll be able to draw on your pool of b-school connections.

Business school will also help you form mentor-mentee relationships with faculty, many of whom are veteran businesspeople themselves. These mentor relationships can remain vital as you finish your degree and start, or expand, your business. They’ll be there to give guidance and answer questions as you grow a business of your own.

If you’re dreaming of starting your own business, or if you’ve already started your business but you’re feeling overwhelmed by the realities of entrepreneurship, an MBA could help. Business school can teach you everything you need to know about running your own business, so that when the time comes, you can avoid common pitfalls and mistakes, and guide your startup to long-term success.

Pearson Supports Startup Land, Partners With DC’s 1776

1776, Pearson, DC, DC startups, EdTechIt is no secret that education in this country is in a state of flux. Scores are low, dropout rates are high, and standards are constantly being changed. There’s constant discussion about what education should even mean in this century. More and more people are homeschooling, not out of religious belief but simply to bring sanity to their children’s education.

Pearson is a big name in education. They produce many of the textbooks and mulitmedia materials used in our schools. The company has been publishing educational materials for more than 100 years. 100+ year old companies aren’t typically the first ones to jump on the startup bandwagon, but Pearson is leading the way.

pearson1Yesterday, they announced a partnership with DC incubator 1776. Through the partnership, Pearson will support and collaborate with edtech startups associated with 1776.

In a statement, 1776’s Evan Burfield said:

America’s education system is at a crossroads and a forward-thinking approach is needed to solve many challenges. Pearson is using technology to invent new ways of learning; and by working with organizations like 1776 and our startups, Pearson’s experts not only provide insights around data and technical integration strategies, they can advise startups on effectively penetrating and scaling in the education market.

Edtech is a rocky field, at best. With perhaps thousands of individual school systems across the country, mass adoption can be difficult. Each system has its own way of deciding which tools to use, teachers are often worn out with all the new systems to learn, and there’s always something new to consider. The one thing every edtech startup can guarantee: schools have no money.

Bureaucracy within the school systems rivals only the bureaucracy found in Washington, DC. That makes 1776, located in the heart of the capital, the perfect place to incubate. The folks in and around the campus know about bureaucracy, and they specialize in startups that may have institutional difficulties: energy, healthcare, government, and education.

This isn’t Pearson’s first dip in the startup pool, though. They’ve already partnered with 1776 to identify good candidates for their own accelerator, Pearson Catalyst. With their experience in education and 1776’s experience in startups, there’s a good chance we could see some great things happen in edtech.

1776 hosted the National Accelerator Demo Day earlier this month.


DC Startup yourClass A Market Place Offering Free Live Classes

yourClass, DC startup,startup,startup interview, EdTechOnline education is broken. Or so says Jacob Ruytenbeek, CEO and co-founder of DC startup yourClass.

Online education has plenty of faults. For starters, although technology is vital to education, in most cases education is the last segment to benefit from changes in technology. Consider this: while there are a lot of startups tackling online education and online learning, most of them are doing it with video courses which are “so 2000s,” Ruytenbeek told us in an interview.

yourClass is connecting real teachers with real learners in a virtual classroom setting. This isn’t new, but what sets them apart is the fact that it’s free for the first 50 live students. The classes are given live and then archived for those that can’t participate during the live date. Students can purchase the archived classes, which is where the revenue comes into play.

The other thing that sets yourClass apart from similar startups is the social component. Student profiles highlight the students social networks where students can get to know each other and collaborate well beyond the live class.

Check out our discussion with Ruytenbeek below.


NIBV2VWhat is your startup called?


What does your company do?

We are a marketplace for live online classes.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds

Paul Flynn (Chief Technology Officer) brings his knowledge as an eBay engineer with experience in U/I and marketplace design.

Matt Stock (Chief Learning Officer) is a renowned photographer, educator, and TEDx Coconut Grove speaker. He’s a former University of Miami MD student who decided to follow his passion into photography and teaching rather than continuing medical school to become a doctor.

Jacob Ruytenbeek (Chief Executive Officer) is an attorney who started two previous micro-startups including PaperChace and YachtBlogs Network. He’s a 2009 graduate of the Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.

Where are you based?

Reston, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.

What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

The #DCTech scene is incredible and supportive. We’re surrounded by tech like the huge AOL campus which is about 10 minutes away and comScore, which is located about 2 minutes away. At the same time, we have access to the downtown DC tech scene with places like 1776, the DC Economic Partnership, and a host of other accelerators for startups. People are approachable, mellow, and looking to help each other out.

What problem do you solve?

Let’s face it: Education is broken. Institutions capture much of the value that teachers create in the classroom; the cost of education restricts access to those who need it most; present e-learning solutions are mediocre at best; and MOOC’s are just the internet’s version of overcrowded classrooms. On top of it all, the virtual classroom is stale and boring. Everyone hates them.

Why now?

Education is ripe for disruption. The problem is humongous and growing by the day. Competitors like MOOCs are not sustainable since they don’t fix many of the underlying systemic issues with online education like we do. We need to change it and we can’t wait – so the real question is why not now?

How it works (more detail)

We fix education by creating a marketplace for learning where anyone can take or teach a class on almost any topic. We do it by removing the institution and connecting the prime source of value, teachers, directly with students. Our live classes are 100% free, so that anyone, regardless of ability to pay, can learn on our yourClass. Live classes are capped at 50 people per session and are recorded. Students can purchase forever-access for a fee set by, and shared with, the teacher.

Our virtual classrooms also help form relationships between students with deep social media integration embedded right into the classroom. Learning from fellow students and developing lasting relationships with them has always been a critical element to a successful classroom and we make that possible. Seriously, the yourClass virtual classroom is as good, if not better than the traditional classroom.

Teachers earn at least a majority of the revenue from class sales and are therefore incentivized to develop high quality classes and they’re share depends on the rating of the class (teachers receive a higher percentage share of revenue for five-star rated classes than they do three-star rated classes) .


At it’s core, yourClass is a virtual classroom that offers synchronous one-to-many and many-to-many live video. It has the standard virtual whiteboard, screensharing, notes, and raise-your-hand features that you’d expect to find in a virtual classroom, but it goes further. For instance, to help students build relationships with their classmates, student profiles incorporate information from social media profiles. When you click on a student’s profile, you’ll see information about who they are and how you know them, who your shared connections are, and what your shared interests are. It’s a wonderful way to create relationships in a virtual classroom.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

1. Passed first successful internal technology test (translation: our software works)


2. Announced our upcoming beta on 7/10/2013


3. Landed our first big partner (can’t say who yet)


4. Reached our first 100 signups within 24 hours of announcing the beta.


What are your next milestones?


1. 1,000 signups before beta opens.


2. 100 live classes at launch


3. Deliver 10,000 hours of live online learning


Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

Come by and add your name to our beta invite list. Users can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook (links below) to get free swag like t-shirts, stickers, sneak-peeks, and early access invites.

Twitter: @yourclassedu


This Florida educational startup won 25,000 at the startup conference below.


The Need To Get His School Life Organized Sparks Young Entrepreneur’s Semester Planner

Semester Planner, Marcell Purham, Chicago Startup, Chicago TechWeek

Marcell Purham always knew he wanted to start something. He started coding and developing a little over 7 years ago when he was just 13 years old. His love of developing started with easy stuff like helping his friends code their MySpace pages. As time went on he got more and more into design and learning every language he could.  Purham is the kind of guy that soaks up knowledge from wherever he can get it, so he attends as many startup events in Chicago as he can and spends his freetime reading up on everything in the tech and startup world.

Now a college student, Purham quickly realized that his brain was overflowing with information, which made it really hard for him to stay focused and organized in school. That’s why he created Semester Planner.  “Think Online Trapper Keeper,” Purham told Nibletz in an interview. (Is he even old enough to remember the Trapper Keeper?)

Semester Planner is a student planning app that captures everything in a student’s academic life, including notes, class schedule, calendar, and more. It organizes all the information in an easy-to-recall platform that keeps everything by semester. It also makes it really easy to find things later.

We got a chance to talk with Purham. Check out our text and video interviews with Purham below.

What is your startup called?

Semester Planner.

What does your company do?

Semester Planner is a free online planner that helps students keep track of their notes, classes, assignments, and documents.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds

There is only one founder and his name is Marcell Purham. Marcell is a software developer with 7+ years of developing for web. He started out at 13 learning to code and writing code for friends on myspace then took it to the next level by moving onto design and finally programming.

Where are you based?

We are based in Chicago, IL.

What problem do you solve?

The problem we’re solve are allowing students to access their notes, assignments, documents, and classes on the go or while they’re in school.

Why now?

Honestly as a student myself I needed something to help me keep track of all my semester classes, notes, assignments etc. So as I took on more classes I did not want to carry around all those heavy textbooks and finally decided to solve that problem, for not only myself but also for other students.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

We’ve achieved a lot within the first 6 months(Launched in January 2013).  Over 100 students from my community college signed up and used it for their semester and also some kids from others schools. We’ve had over 2,000 chrome downloads for semester planner and our likes on Facebook are constantly going up.

What are your next milestones?

Right now I am working on the Android version of the application and hope to release it sometime this year to students and I am talking with a friend on getting this developed for iOS also so that what we’re up to for now. Also we’re getting feedback from users and seeing if they’re things they love about the site and hate so that becomes very useful to us.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

If you would like to learn more about semester planner check it out on our website, Facebook or twitter.

Twitter –

facebook –

Semester Planner –


Now check out our video interview with Purham


We’ve got more Chicago TechWeek coverage than any other source, check it out here.


If You’re Serious About Email Ditch Mailbox For Boxer, Launching Today

Boxer, Taskbox, Austin startup, Mailbox app, sxsw, relaunch, startup launch

Earlier this year the startup world was abuzz about the brand new Mailbox app. You remember, the one that made you download a countdown timer, and for most, wait several days before getting your hands on the app. However, people who get high volumes of email, quickly saw that Mailbox was a hype machine. The hype got so loud they quickly got acquired by the team at DropBox.

While all that was going on, tens of thousands of people descended upon Austin, Texas, for the annual Woodstock of startups, SXSW Interactive. It was there, at the Capital Factory and then on one of the startup stages, we found Taskbox. 

boxericonsmWe got to hear about the meat and potatoes baked into Taskbox during a pitch session focused on startups that were immune to the series A crunch. All the startups in that pitch session had an investment ask at the end of their decks, but we were just longing for a really good email app designed for people that actually get email.

Taskbox proved to be that app. In fact, the Taskbox team accelerated at Capital Factory which just happens to be founded by Joshua Baer, who made most of his fortune in–you guessed it–email.

After downloading, I discovered immediately that the team behind Taskbox had loaded the app with easy to use features, an appealing UX/UI, and had actually considered people who received a lot of email.

I receive anywhere from 350-500 fresh email messages a day that can’t be marked as spam. If I factor in “spam,” we’re closer to 1000.



So Andrew Eye tipped me off a few weeks ago. He told me that during SXSW he had met  Xoogler Jason Shellen. Shellen has a very strong background having worked with Google, AOL, and his own startup Brizzly. During their time together at SXSW, Shellen told Eye that he was working on something new called Boxer. Boxer had even simpler, easy to understand features. The Taskbox team quickly acquired Boxer and brought Shellen on as head of product.


Shellen helped the Taskbox team revamp the UI by flattening it and adding some features that I’m really excited about, like the ability to “like” an email. This feature will let the writer know “Hey, I’m not ignoring you.” Sometimes that’s all you need to say in an email: message received and understood! It’s like a 10-4 button.

Other features include:

  • Powerful swipe gestures to help triage, respond, and manage on-the-go
  • Inline profile images & helpful contact cards
  • Works with all your existing email accounts (including Gmail, Exchange, Yahoo and more)
  • Dropbox integration for adding files to email from the cloud
  • Adds elements of social tools to email to make email more fun and like-able again

While the Taskbox team had a great product to start with, in reforming and launching under the Boxer name, they’re going t take email to yet another level. They also added more heavyweights to their founding dream team. Adam Cianfichi. formerly with Accuvant and Ciphent, and Ian Ragsdale who worked with Baer on OtherInbox and also Skylist, round out the new Boxer team. Andrew is the CEO, Adam heads up Design, Ian runs Engineering, and Jason runs Product.

The app is gesture based (yes like Mailbox), but what you can do with the gestures is infinitely more powerful. You can swipe to earmark an email for a set later date, you can archive it, like it, use a quick response or add it to the “to do” list. They’ve also integrated a favorites list and the ability to call up all email exchanges between you and another person with a click of a button. It’s almost like a mobile email based CRM.

Currently, Boxer is only available for iOS. Find out more here at

Now read: Am I the only one on earth who thinks Mailbox Sucks?


EdTech Startups Here’s How K-12 Students Are Using Technology [INFOGRAPHIC]

EdTech, Education Startups,Technology in the classroom, startup, InfographicEdTech startups are on the rise. More and more educational institutions, universities, school systems and students are using technology to assist with learning, student privacy, teaching aids and more. recently polled 1600 teachers and administrators in K-12 schools to determine how well their schools are using digital technologies.

The infographic below provides a snapshot of technology in the classroom as well as how students are embracing mobile technology.

According to Piper Jaffray’s 23rd semiannual “Taking Stock With Teens” report 34% of teenagers already own a tablet computer. A whopping 86% of teenagers say their next device will be a smartphone.

On the school side privacy and security seem to be the biggest area for technology in K-12 schools. Personal e-portfolio’s for students had the lowest ranking in data compiled by The Software and Information Industry Association “Vision K-20 Survey”.

Probably the most interesting, and positive data was among school districts. According to the Center For Digital Education’s “2011-2012 Digital School Districts Survey” of respondents, 65% of school districts have some kind of digital content strategy. 67% of school districts have data dashboards in place and 76% have a classroom technology standard.

How does your EdTech startup fit in? Check out the infographic below and you decide!



Check out this Florida startup that is working on the first ever educational MMORPG


Florida Startup Musical Math Number Line Has An Innovative Approach to Teaching Math

Musical Math Number Line,Jacksonville startup,startup interview,OneSpark,EdTechFlorida teacher turned entrepreneur Deb Bowers has an innovative, musical way to teach students adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers. She’s put it all to music and song using one of FAO Schwartz most popular toys.

Long gone are the days that one has to travel all the way to New York City to see FAO Schwartz signature toys. You know the ones made famous by many New York based Christmas movies including Home Alone. Toys-R-Us has created an FAO Schwartz section in all of their stores and one of their most popular toys from the brand is a gigantic piano kids can walk and jump on.Think Nintendo power pad meets keyboard.

Well Bowers has created a way to use that piano toy, affix a number chart on top and teach kids to add and subtract positive and negative numbers, while performing a song.

Musical Math Numberline comes with everything a parent needs to teach this method at home, except for the piano itself. You can either order it from Bowers’ site via a link to Toys R Us or go to your local Toys R us and pick it up. The numberline comes with the overlay for the piano along with a song book that is filled not only with songs, but songs composed by performing math problems.

To get the entire gist of the idea you should watch the video below. Bowers said she got the idea from her students. She would put masking tape on the floor and have them move about the front of the room adding and subtracting positive and negative numbers. Some students suggested that there had to be a way they could add music to it, so Bowers did.

She just showed off the idea at OneSpark the World’s Crowdfunding Festival where she hoped to get a jump start on bringing the company out to a bigger market. She told us there were lots of interested people that came to see her at her booth and that she was going to continue with Musical Math Numberline regardless of whether she was one of the companies to get funded at the event.

Check out the video below. You can find out more at

Here are even more startup stories from OneSpark!



An Educational MMORPG, We Chat With Lindsey Tropf CEO Of Immersed Games [video][onespark]

Immersed Games,OneSpark,Florida Startup,Gainesville Startup,EdTechEducational video games and online games have been due for a disruption for quite sometime. We’ve seen startups like Memphis’ Seed Hatchery alum, Knoco, innovate by trying to bring back the story line based games like “Where In The World I Carmen San Diego”, while that’s a great idea, the storyline concept wasn’t brand new.

Lindsey Tropf and her co-founders at Immersed Games have taken their gaming experience as teenagers, young adults and now graduating college students and decided to start something, fun, educational and long lasting. Yes, they’re creating the first educational MMORPG.

For those that aren’t gamers, MMORPG stands for Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, think World Of Warcraft, but of course Immersed Games educational MMORPG won’t be the least bit violent.

In the Immersed Games world students will take on an avatar and character profile and go into a world where they need to solve real problems with friends and other players to get to the next phase in the game.  We’re not talking the classic, question and answer problems, real life problems like creating food chains, and using laws of physics and science to get out of situations.

Immersed Games is relying on the addictive nature of MMORPG games to keep students coming back and learning more.

Their first game is going to tackle sixth great science in a virtual world.

Tropf, along with brother Ryan Tropf and Kaz Burgmeister are working on creating their first worlds and quests and are hoping to raise money at OneSpark and then in an investment round. If all goes well they hope to role out their first game next year.

Check out the video interview with Lindsey below:

Find out more about Immersed Games here

We’ve got so much OneSpark coverage here at


DC Startup Quad2Quad Goes Free Just In Time For Spring Break

Quad2Quad,DC Startup,EdTech,startup

Susan Jones (68) and Elizabeth Van Sant (54) co-founders of Quad2 Quad in their booth at (photo: Allie Fox for NMI)

Two amazing ladies from Washington DC are working on their startup Quad2Quad at warp speed. You would think that these were two twenty something entrepreneurs, young, hungry and ready to work 100 hours per week. Well they’re hungry and working 100 hours per week, but Susan Jones is 68 and co-founder Elizabeth Van Sant is 54.

These two mothers, business women and now startup founders in Washington DC are old enough to be Mark Zuckerberg’s moms. Their startup, Quad 2 Quad, was actually created because Van Sant and Jones have become somewhat pro’s at getting their kids off to college. They know the ins, the outs and “the ropes”.

We’ve interviewed and profiled quite a few college bound startups at We interviewed Cleveland startup CollegeSkinny who’s platform helps high school students transition from high school to college. We featured CiteLighter which is a highlighting bookmarklet app that allows users to easily make citations in their research. Exceleratr, a New York startup, connects high school students to much needed extra-curricular activities outside of the high school campus.  We also  interviewed Swedish startup Studemia, which is a collaboration tool for students as well as CampusShift, a Youngstown startup looking to take a bite out of college debt.

Jones and Van Sant’s startup aims to help parents of perspective college students, simplify the college visit planning process.  Quad2Quad essentially becomes the college visitor’s personal assistant.

Quad2Quad took part in the AppNation conference in San Francisco earlier this year and The Startup Conference. Despite having post college aged children Jones and Van Sant mix it up, network and mingle with the best of the college aged entrepreneurs.

Currently they are looking for avenues to raise money, continuing to iterate on their app and developing as much traction as they can.

Quad2Quad just announced that they are going “free” in the app store, just in time for college spring break. The app currently offers 74 colleges and 12 itineraries. They add more and more colleges all the time.  They plan on adding another 35 schools in the month of April.

You can find out more about Quad2Quad here and download the iOS app here.

Check out these other Washington DC Startup stories here.

EdTech Startup MatchBox Lets Colleges Manage Applications On An iPad, SXSWedu Pitch Video,Startup,Boston startup,EdTech startup,SXSW,SXSW13,SXSWeduStephen Marcus, the founder and CEO of Matchbox has created a product that colleges and universities are quickly adopting and loving. Matchbox is a complete solution that allows admissions staff to manage the applications process via an ipad app.

“For us, using Matchbox was a no brainer,” said Sundar Kumarasamy, vice president for enrollment management and marketing at the University of Dayton, in a prepared statement released by the company. “Matchbox provides us with an intuitive solution that empowers our readers to give each applicant the critical attention they deserve while saving us countless hours in the process.” EdTech times reported last July.

Matchbox and their new and innovative way to handle admissions, made it to the finals in the higher ed category at the LAUNCHedu startup showdown as part of SXSWedu earlier this week.

Although SpeakingPal was the ultimate winner in the HigherEd category, Mathbox still beat out 10 other high caliber startups targeting college students and educators.

Check out their pitch video from the finals on Wednesday afternoon. For more info on Matchbox and how it can help your admissions process, visit

Check out more of our SXSW 2013 coverage here

Baltimore Startup Common Curriculum Has Disrupted Curriculum Writing [SXSW]

Common Curriculum,EdTech startup,Baltimore startup,LAUNCHedu,SXSWedu,sxsw,sxsw13Teachers write between 200-800 lesson plans per year based on how many unique courses they teach. This was a major pain point for educators. Often times they would want to take one lesson and take part of it and incorporate it into another. This would be great if they could easily put their hands on that file.

In 2009 Baltimore math teacher Scott Messinger became fed up with the old way of planning curriculum. EdTech was poppin up everywhere at the student level, yet teachers were still writing lesson plans in Microsoft Word, or the old fashioned way, by hand.

Messinger taught himself to code over the next three years and started building what became Common Curriculum. According to whatweekly, in 2011 Robbie Earle joined Messinger as co-founder, after Education Hack Day.

They launched Common Curriculum back in August and this week they were a finalist at LAUNCHedu as part of SXSWedu.

We got a chance to catch up with Earle. Check out our video interview below.

Check out more of our SXSW 2013 Coverage here at

Clever Wins The K-12 Category At LAUNCHedu, SXSWedu With This Pitch

Clever,EdTech,startup,startup pitch,sxswedu,sxsw13,sxswClever, a platform that connects educational software providers with legacy Student Information Systems, has already caught the eye of major venture capitalists. Back in October, after completing the summer round at Y-Combinator, they raised $3 million dollars from some of the tech world’s elite venture capitalists including SVAngels, Google Ventures, Bessemer and Mitch Kapor of Kapor Capital.

While getting into Y-Combinator, graduating and raising a big round of funding are all great, Wednesday night at SXSWedu they were crowned K-12 champions of the LAUNCHedu startup showdown. This award is better than your average pitch competition because it’s an award from their peers and their user base, educators.

What began as a simple idea for a simple, yet aggravating problem, eventually prompted founders Dan Carroll, Tyler Bosmeny and Rafael Garcia to quit their jobs and pursue this opportunity full time.  Another startup called LearnSprout is attacking the same problem, and a Startup Weekend EDU startup, Student Dash, attempted it but had to abandon the project because founder Kevin Tame didn’t have time to continue. Tame was featured in the recent Startup Weekend EDU movie.

Clever has already received major traction and is building scale at a quick rate. Carroll said in his Wednesday pitch that the startup had already been deployed in 3,000 schools and has over 1 million student users.  They also have over 40 paying app customers who pay them to access their platform.

Check out Carroll’s winning pitch video below:

More SXSW 2013 coverage here at