We are seeing an increase in caliber and number of startups focusing on mobile apps for learning. We are really beginning to see the future of education in these new companies.
New York, NY (PRWEB) October 22, 2010
“There were far more applicants than there were slots,” said Diana Rhoten, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Startl. ”The decisions were difficult given the increasing caliber and number of startups focusing on mobile apps for learning. We are really beginning to see the future of education in these new companies.”
With the rise in use of smartphones and tablets such as the iPhone and iPad, parents, teachers and children are looking for innovative and creative applications to give learners a boost in everything from math and reading to science and history.
The ten teams selected include: ByGone – a startup focused on geo-based history for middle and high school students; Motion Math, Visual Math and Zoom Math – all approaching various aspects of math for students of varying ages; English language learning apps by Voxy; two companies – Karunatree and PowerShift – are focusing on mobile tools to teach about the environment and energy; The Stickery and Hideout are developing mobile experiences for ore-school children; and Coursebook is creating a local directory and social network for adult education courses.
The Mobile Design Boost, sponsored by The Pearson Foundation, is a four-day intensive bootcamp for prototyping digital learning products. In partnership with IDEO, this multi-day immersion offers 3-4 person teams the ability to refine prototypes, meet with education and market experts ,and conduct user-testing in a collaborative environment. On the final day of the Boost, teams present their prototype to an audience that includes a panel of potential customers and investors.
“The ability for many of these startups to come in and have a company like IDEO help them focus on user-centric design, iterate quickly and then pitch to investors on the fourth day is both an amazing and exhausting process but one we have found that works well,” notes fellow Co-Founder and Managing Director, Phoenix Wang.
Participants of Startl’s first Design Boost in March 2010 used the opportunity to fine-tune products and services to great success. For example, San Francisco based Launchpad Toys (http://www.launchpadtoys.com) was able to secure angel funding and was selected as one of “10 companies to pitch” at the 2010 Venture Capital in Education Summit Showcase in June. Launchpad Toys was also named as a finalist in the Breakthroughs in Mobile Learning category for the Cooney Center Prizes for Innovation in Children’s Learning. Another alumni of Startl’s Design Boost program, Project NOAH (http://www.networkedorganisms.com/), was named the winner of the Cooney Mobile Learning Prize, has attracted investment from a large media company and was actively used in the Gulf coast region by scientists and citizen scientists.
Industry experts and market investors interested in attending “Pitch Day” on November 14, 2010 can email info (at) startl (dot) org.
Startl is a social enterprise dedicated to accelerating the growth of digital innovations for learning – from kindergarten to college, inside and outside the classroom. Focused on catalyzing next generation products with the greatest promise of transforming the education sector and the learning market, Startl recruits young innovators and entrepreneurs, immerses them in a rigorous product design and development process, and helps them build socially responsible and fiscally sustainable start-ups. Startl has received initial seed funding from the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Lumina Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.startl.org.