Kaplan Announces Its 2014 EdTech Accelerator Class

By July 24, 2014

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It’s no secret that technology continues to evolve at an almost alarming, yet exciting, rate. How does this rate of innovation affect us, though? Does it change how we work? Absolutely. What about how we learn and take in information? While it’s quite obvious that technology is shaping our lives as adults, it can be easy to overlook the way technology can be leveraged for learning. As our world changes and grows, our education system needs to adjust to accommodate that.

MentorMob, a Chicago-based edtech startup said on their blog, “Education will change in the next 20 years more than it will in the last 1,000, and gamers know this better than anyone.”

So, what does the future of education look like? There are several startups in the space, like MentorMob, who was part of the inaugural class of Kaplan’s EdTech Accelerator last year, looking to make their mark on this very important question. This accelerator, which is the first corporate-sponsored accelerator focused solely on EdTech, is one more way for companies to tackle a broad range of challenges for K-12, higher education and other learning fronts.

Don Burton, Managing Director of Techstars, commented, “The Accelerator program itself is a great example of the possibilities for the future of education. Instead of sitting in classrooms learning facts about how to start a company, they are ‘learning-by-doing’ and building real capabilities to reach the next level of performance with customer, product, organization, and fundraising competences. The Accelerator is learning on steroids.”

As a part of Techstars, this accelerator features a three-month immersive mentorship and business development program. This year, they had 500 applicants, which is double the amount of applications received last year. Each startup will receive a $20,000 investment from Techstars and the option for a $150,000 convertible debt note from Kaplan.

While Demo Day won’t take place until October 22, here’s a look at the 12 startups who made this year’s accelerator.

Branching Minds (New York, NY): an online tool to help identify, understand, and address students’ cognitive strengths and weaknesses while tracking and reporting data across grade levels, classes, and the home-school divide

ClassWallet (Miami, FL): digital wallet and e-commerce platform letting donors easily give and track donations to K-12 classes and also gives teachers decision-making power over budgets and purchases for their classrooms

Cognotion (New York, NY): teaches students another language and career skills through story-telling, using online video narratives, gamification features, live simulation, and social media tools

CreatorBox (New York, NY): helps children ages 7-12 years old develop their creativity and practical science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills through a monthly series of engaging building projects

Edvisor.io (New York, NY and Toronto, ON, Canada): increases access to global educational opportunities by seamlessly connecting schools and educational travel agencies via a worldwide distribution system with integrated web tools

Grockit (New York, NY): online tool uses adaptive learning, peer-to-peer learning, and game-like motivational features to help students prepare for standardized tests; originally founded in 2007, Grockit was acquired by Kaplan in July 2013

Lea(R)n (Raleigh, NC): runs cost-effective pre-clinical and clinical trials to validate emerging education technologies’ impact on learning outcomes

reKode (Redmond, WA and Reykjavik, Iceland): teaches computer coding skills to children and young adults—including those with learning challenges and disabilities—in a face-to-face environment, emphasizing peer-to-peer learning, positive development and creativity

RobotsLAB (San Francisco, CA): creates robots as in-classroom teaching aids that help K-12 educators bring to life abstract math and science concepts in fun, engaging ways

SmartOn (New York, NY and Bangalore, India): teaches “new economy skills” in such areas such as coding, data science, social media and design

Story To College (New York, NY): offers online and in-person courses that leverage the neuroscience of storytelling to help students write impactful, effective admissions essays

TuvaLabs (New York, NY): teaches data literacy skills by engaging students through the exploration and use of real data related to students’ own favorite topics and interests