Flashnotes Helps Students Study–And Make Money



If you’re the smart kid in class, it’s time to stop doing everyone’s studying for free.

Flashnotes.com is a peer-to-peer marketplace for college notes and study guides. Students post their guides on the platform, and each sells for around $10.

Started by Mike Matousek during his senior year at Kent State, the company has grown quickly in the last few years.

In February they closed a $3.6 million Series A led by Stage 1 Ventures.

And, yes, you really can make money selling  your notes online. According to the leaderboard on the Flashnotes homepage, Tony2050 from Florida State has pulled in almost &12,000 so far. That’s better than your average part time job!

Check out our Q&A with Mike below:

1) What’s your startup called?

Flashnotes.com is a Boston-based startup that is becoming an influential leader in the higher ed tech space.

2) What’s your big idea and how does it work?

Flashnotes.com is the student-to-student study materials marketplace. The online platform allows college students to buy and sell course specific study materials — study guides,notes, flashcards, video tutorials, and live video help. My company is on a mission to provide college students with the two things they need most – more money & better grades. Our Pays2Study™ approach empowers smart college students to make money from their own study material, while helping other students study smarter to get better grades.

At Flashnotes.com,  we want to create an environment that allows college students to have access to the information they need to be successful in their courses. Currently, 42% of college students drop out and it’s often because they are falling behind. Flashnotes.com is on a mission to provide these students with the materials they need to get over that hump by serving content in a variety of forms.

3) What’s the story behind your idea?

I founded Flashnotes.com in 2010, when I was a senior at Kent State University. My idea for the company came when I was taking a statistics class that many of my classmates struggled with. The course came naturally to me, and it wasn’t long before students were hunting me down for my study guides and notes. Soon after, Flashnotes.com was born, and is now used by college students at universities and colleges across the country.

4) Who are the founders?

As mentioned previously, I founded Flashnotes.com while I was a senior at Kent State University.

5) Where are you located?

Flashnotes.com is located in Boston’s Faneuil Hall marketplace.

6) What’s the startup scene like there?

Boston’s innovation economy is thriving, and it really is a hub for technology startups and young entrepreneurs. In recent years, an entire Innovation District has emerged along the South Boston Waterfront, and with so many local colleges and universities, there’s no shortage of talent for the city’s burgeoning community of web and technology startups.

7) What milestones have you reached?

In the last year, Flashnotes.com has seen rapid adoption at colleges and universities across the country with a 175% growth in users. In the last two months we also raised $3.6 million in Series A venture funding and acquired Moolaguides, an online study materials marketplace with a strong user base in Florida.

8) What are your next milestones?

This year, Flashnotes.com is focused on expansion to additional colleges and universities across the U.S. We’re also looking to empower students with registered disabilities with our online marketplace and are actively looking to work with universities’ disability offices to offset program costs, increase note-taker retention throughout the semester, and enable these students to have access to critical course material. 

9) Where can people find out more?

To find out more information about Flashnotes.com, readers can visit our website at www.flashnotes.com, like us on Facebook,  or follow us on Twitter, @Flashnotes.

Shark Tank Shark Barbara Corcoran Brings Her Expertise to Skillshare


Yesterday Shark Tank‘s Barbara Corcoran launched a new class on Skillshare called Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship: Pitching Your Business and Yourself. The 8 session class walks students through the basics of entrepreneurship, including a discussion of what makes an entrepreneur great.

The class costs $19, and once you’ve purchased it, you have access to the materials forever.

incontent3“Throughout my many years of running businesses, I have been fortunate to experience success both as an entrepreneur and investor. I’ve learned that some people are well suited to be entrepreneurs, and others aren’t. Unfortunately, in most cases, it takes a lot of time, energy, and money to find out which side of that coin you fall,” Corcoran writes on the course’s landing page.

The class is billed for aspiring entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs who have gotten started and aren’t sure what to do next.

“I created this class on Skillshare to help you determine your worth as an entrepreneur and to help you position your business and concept for success.,” the website continues.

In addition to the materials and discussions, students also complete a final project, a 1 minute pitch video. They submit the video online and receive feedback and votes from other students working through the material. Of the top 20 most upvoted pitches submitted before May 14, Corcoran and her team will pick their favorite.

That entrepreneur will receive a 30 minute mentoring session with Corcoran, as well as her support through social media.

Not too shabby for $19.

Corcoran is, of course, a well-known entrepreneur and investor. Through Shark Tank, she’s invested in 22 companies, including Wild Squirrel Nut Butter.

Recently, Skillshare announced a subscription model for its online learning platform. Students can pay $10/month for access to hundreds of courses. Classes include fields like design, technology, and business. They all incorporate a project at the end, and many involve a prize from the teacher Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship.

Corcoran’s class doesn’t fall under that umbrella, but members do receive a 20% discount. You can enroll here.

Shutterstock Joins The Online Education Game With Skillfeed

Online education with SkillfeedOnline education has seen some big growth this year, but we’re really just seeing the beginning of an industry. Startups like Khan Academy, Udacity, and Coursera are all trying out new models.

Earlier this year stock photo company Shutterstock jumped into the mix with Skillfeed.

Skillfeed offers a monthly subscription that gives users access to thousands of instructional videos across various subjects. Photography, Adobe InDesign, and WordPress seem to be the most popular subjects so far, but you can also take classes in business, startups, and almost any software you can think of. Skillfeed is especially for creatives and others who want to keep growing in creative careers.

What I love about Skillfeed is that there are short and long courses. You can access 20 minute or less “SkillSnacks,” or you can jump into a longer course anywhere you want to. One of the drawbacks to online education has been retention rates. Skillfeed cuts that off by not even caring if you complete a course. It’s more about what you learning what you need to learn than completing an entire course.

Check out our Q&A and sign up for the free trial on the Skillfeed website.

What does your company do?

Skillfeed is a new marketplace for online learning, with tutorials designed to help amateurs and digital professionals alike to be more successful in their career and beyond. With thousands of short and long-form instructional videos, we’re helping users of all levels build and expand their skill sets in design, photography, web development, video and more. Currently, Skillfeed offers around 20,000 videos, equating to 2000 hours of online courses delivered by 1,000 top-quality instructors from around the world.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

Skillfeed is a startup subsidiary of Shutterstock, Inc., a leading global marketplace for digital imagery. Shutterstock CEO & Founder Jon Oringer is a serial entrepreneur who started Shutterstock 10 years ago in New York City. David Fraga, General Manager of Skillfeed, joined Shutterstock four years ago to lead corporate and business development; prior to that he worked in tech venture capital at Insight Venture Partners.  Shutterstock is now a NYSE listed company which does business in 150 countries.

Where are you based?

Skillfeed is headquartered in New York City.

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

New York’s Silicon Alley is thriving and we’re based here for good reason. We’re excited to be a part of the NY tech community’s continued growth and success. The city continues to attract top tech talent, entrepreneurs, startups, investors, and professionals from all corners of the globe, which creates a vibrant environment for starting a business.

What problem do you solve?

Skillfeed democratizes access to high-quality digital education around the world. For an affordable monthly membership, users get unlimited access to hundreds of high-quality courses from real industry professionals, who teach the skills necessary to advance in today’s digital world.

Why now?

The digital landscape is changing rapidly; designers, marketers, business owners and professionals of all kinds are required to have more digital skills than ever before. Whether refreshing your skills for a current job or project, adding new skills to become better suited for a future career, or running a business where you have to be able to do it all, there is huge demand for online courses.

Who is the competition?

This might sound odd, but we believe our primary competition to be books (static, one topic, quickly dated) and in-person classes (expensive, someone else’s schedule, unknown quality before you arrive). While digital is starting to become a more popular option, the vast majority of learning still happens offline. We believe we can help to shape an entirely new industry of affordable and accessible online learning.

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

Launching with over 10,000 videos was a big milestone for us. We’ve since doubled the size of the collection and we’re now seeing the majority of our users log-in from outside of the US. Every day we’re adding new high-quality content, and servicing more clients from around the world.

What are your next milestones?

We’re constantly looking to simplify the process of online learning. We’re hard at work adding customers and instructors to our platform, and innovating on the way that educational content is made and consumed. We’ve got some big things in store!

Education Startups Have You Applied For LAUNCHedu At SXSW?

SXSWedu, SXSW, Startups, EdtechLast year when we decided to head down a little earlier than we traditionally do for SXSWi, we were quite surprised at what we saw with LAUNCHedu and SXSWedu.  For those unaware, SXSW hosts an entire conference a week earlier than SXSW Interactive, SXSW Music and SXSW Film. That conference, SXSWedu, celebrates education, technology, and edtech startups.

Like the SXSWi accelerator, SXSWedu has it’s own startup track called LAUNCHedu which functions almost like the SXSW Interactive accelerator.

The pitch and startup contest pits the best of the best educational startups from across the country against each other in front of startup influences like Mitch Kapor from Kapor Capital. Many VC’s and angels have found that SXSWedu finds startups on the cusp of greatness.

At last year’s event we met great startups like Common Curriculum, a Baltimore based company that has created an easy to use platform for teachers to develop curriculum. We also got to spend time with MatchBox, a startup that has put the college application process entirely on an iPad. We even got to spend time with Clever, the startup that won the K-12 category at LAUNCHedu. This company provides a platform that connects educational software providers with legacy student information systems and makes it all talk to each other.

If you’re an edtech startup and meet these requirements than you want to head over to the SXSWedu site before November 8th and register. 

It’s been said that SXSWedu is growing faster than the SXSW Interactive festival grew when it was first added. It falls the week before SXSWi in March.

Click here to see our coverage of SXSWedu


TeacherGraph Streamlines Parent/Teacher Communication

Education, Startups, TeacherGraph

Memphis kids have already been back in school for a week and a half now. Kids across the country will return to school in the next month, and parents know that means tons of paperwork.

I homeschool my 3 boys now, but I remember the mountains of paperwork my oldest brought home last year. Often 5 or more sheets a day including notices, announcements, and progress reports. And that was just one kid!

Our dining room table was buried under mountains of papers I didn’t really need, and the recycling bin needed constant emptying. And, honestly, I so rarely paid real attention to them that I often had to email the teacher or room mom to double check dates and times. (I’m sure they loved that.) I remember thinking that in our modern world, it was ridiculous there were still so many papers coming home.

I think the guys at TeacherGraph read my mind.

The Austin startup, founded by former Facebooker Joseph Van and Tony Le, officially launches in 3 days, on August 17th. The system allows schools or teachers to enter information once and be delivered to parents in the digital format they prefer. The platform will also enable schools to analyze data, such as the correlation between communication activity and academic performance.

Edtech startups are a mixed bag. Across the country people are thinking a lot about how to improve our schools, and that means smart people like Van and Le are thinking up solutions to every problem imaginable. And, as my story above indicates, school communication is definitely a problem.

The challenge for TeacherGraph will be adoption. Schools are notoriously bureaucratic, and it can be extremely hard to get in with a system. Van and Le probably figured that out, as they used UT Elementary Charter School for their beta testing. Charter schools are an easier market for tech startups because they can make decisions without consulting a larger school system. It was also a smart move because charter school parents are often more engaged than typical elementary parents.

The other challenge for TeacherGraph (and most other edtech startups) is competition. The field–only recently opened–is now full of companies trying to beat each other to the punch. Companies like EduBuzzer and Remind101 also have their own takes on parent teacher communications, and all 3 companies are competing against entrenched–if outdated–systems that are hard to route out.

Still, TeacherGraph is addressing a problem so obvious we often forget it’s there. I like the idea of information being delivered in the format parents prefer, but without extra work for the school. They’ve made great progress with their beta, and the addition of data analysis could be interesting for teachers and schools trying to do the best for the children.

To learn more about TeacherGraph, check out their website or follow them on Twitter.

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 yourclass.net 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.


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. Educationweek.com 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 musicalmathnumberline.com

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 nibletz.com


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 everywhereelse.co (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 nibletz.com. 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 everywhereelse.co 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.

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 nibletz.com  

EdTech Startup SpeakingPal Pitches At LAUNCHedu Part Of SXSWedu [sxsw]

speakingpal,startups,edtech,sxswedu,sxsw13,sxswNowadays people don’t have time for long tail language speaking courses like Rosetta Stone. Not only that but most courses, like Rosetta Stone, teach their students in just about the same manner you would learn a foreign language in high school.

SpeakingPal, an Israeli startup, is actually more successful because the platform teaches English in a more natural format.

SpeakingPal is a web based platform and also a mobile app platform that let’s the user engage with video content and actually have a “conversation” with the virtual instructor.

The guys at SpeakingPal actually ended up winning the highered category at LAUNCHedu as part of SXSWedu.

Check out their pitch below:

Check out more of our SXSW13

coverage here

Chicago EdTech Startup ThinkCerca Pitches At SXSWedu

ThinkCerca,Chicago startup,EdTech,startup,startups,starup video

ThinkCera founder Eileen Murphy Buckley pitches at SXSWedu (photo: NMI 2013)

50 years ago, a student challenging a teacher would be cause for a good paddle beating or wrapping on the students fingers with a ruler. Today, not so much.

Argumentation is now at the core of the new  Common Core State Standards, and distinguished Chicago educator, Eileen Murphy Buckley, understands that with a passion. As the former Director of Curriculum and Instruction for over 100 Chicago Public Schools,  Buckley oversaw the implementation of this kind of curriculum system wide.

Now she’s turned these important fundamentals into ThinkCerca a platform that helps build students critical thinking ability.

With argumentation we’re not talking abut back talking the teacher, Buckley and progressive educators worldwide are teaching students how to create valid arguments about everything built on five principles; claim, evidence, reasoning, counter argument and audience.

“ThinkCERCA is harnessing the unique combination of deep subject area knowledge, hard-earned, pedagogical design skill, and research-based expertise to build a marketplace that will give school districts economic access to the world’s largest selection of high quality literacy lessons. Unlike a the limited selection available in a static textbook, our dynamic marketplace will offer a distribution channel for expert teachers to refresh and deepen the lesson library in ways that both students and teachers find valuable.” Buckley wrote in a guest post to Chicago based Technori.

ThinkCera made it to the final round in the LAUNCHedu startup showdown as part of SXSWedu in the K-12 category.

Check out their pitch below:

 SXSW team coverage from nibletz.com can be found here.