MSP--Ed-Tech Founder's Forum

Minneapolis, MN - Apr 16 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm


Educelerate Twin Cities:  Founders’ Forum—Conversations with 3 Founders of Edu-tech Companies

April 16, 2014 (5:30-7:30 p.m.)

Metropolitan State University

1380 Energy Park Lane, Suite 104

St. Paul, MN 55108

(use entrance at West end of building)

Join us for a very informative panel discussion featuring practical advice and stories from the founders of 3 local edu-tech companies—GuideK12, NAIKU and Sophia Learning—which will be moderated by a veteran entrepreneur and educator—Rajiv Tandon. 

This event is being generously hosted by Metropolitan State University.

Thanks Metro State!


• Chuck Amos: Chuck is the CEO of Guide12, a geovisual analytics software company, which enables education decision makers to instantly explore and analyze school district data by adding a geographic and visual dimension to their student and community information. Named one of SIIA’s 2012 10 most innovative education technology products, GuideK12 serves large metro, suburban and rural school districts throughout the United States.  Throughout Chuck’s career he has been involved in creating a variety of programs serving the needs of education including: statewide implementations of programs, professional development offerings, school networking, technology planning and implementation, education technology initiatives at the local, state and national level. He has also been actively involved in national education policy with organizations including ISTE, CoSN, SIIA, SETDA and others.

• Adisack Nhouyvanisvong, PhD:  Adisackis the Co-founder and President of NAIKU, which improves K-12 learning by providing next generation classroom assessment solutions on an open, SaaS based platform.  He is an expert in computer-based and computer-adaptive testing. Most recently he served as the senior director of psychometric quality at Data Recognition Corporation. Over his 12 year career, he has created and ensured the psychometric integrity for both large-scale educational assessments and professional and certification organizations as well as taught at the University of Minnesota and is an adjunct faculty at Metropolitan State University. Adisack has published in peer-reviewed journals and regularly speaks at education conferences. He has a PhD in psychology from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from the University of Minnesota.

Don Smithmier: Don is the CEO and co-founder of GoKart Labs, a Minneapolis-based digital innovation agency and incubator.  Since 2008, Don has helped start 7 new companies that have attracted over $15 million in investment capital.  They include the award-winning peer-to-peer learning platform, Sophia (

Don spent the first 14 years of his career as a pioneer in online education with Capella Education Company where he held executive leadership roles in marketing, technology, and business management. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and his MBA from the University of Minnesota.  Don is an active youth coach, musician, and board member of Hammer Residences, a non-profit organization serving adults with developmental disabilities.


Rajiv Tandon, PhD:  Rajiv is an Adjunct Professor at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches entrepreneurship.  He is also the founder and former CEO of Adayana (an industry leader in human capital training solutions and consulting services) acquired by ComVest in January 2014, and LearningByte, (a provider of customized training programs using interactive, multimedia computer technology) acquired by Digital Thnk in 2001.  Previously, Rajiv was Director, Corporate Venturing at the University of St. Thomas.  He holds a PhD in Entrepreneurship, as well as an MBA-MIS from the University of Minnesota—Carlson School of Management.  He also holds a B. Tech, Mechanical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India.

MSP--Ed-Tech Founder's Forum