Make Way for Boston's Latest Edtech'lings

Make Way for Boston's Latest Edtech'lings

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Image credit: Shannon Jordan for Shutterstock

Five edtech companies emerged recently from Boston's LearnLaunch accelerator, tackling issues that include learning to code, hiring and collecting social emotional data.

Here's the latest cohort:

Chalk Talk: With offices in Jordan and Boston, Chalk Talk is an SAT prep program based on the new SAT exam that uses machine learning and data analytics to prepare students for standardized tests. It costs $200 for a three-month program (or $300 for six months) and began selling the program last September, serving students at private international high schools especially in the Middle East and North Africa. It plans to expand to other students as well. Chalk Talk has already raised $2.5 million from international and angel investors.

Cram Fighter: Aims to create personalized study plans for students, to help them more efficiently manage their time--analogous to the time-management software tools developed for professions (such as Trello and Asana). Cram Fighter is tailored to support students studying medicine and finance. It costs $30 per month or $100 a year.

EduMetrics: Based outside of Boston, EduMetrics gathers and reports on students’ social and emotional data to help schools understand the environment and what actions could improve outcomes. For instance, using its iNoted system, the company pings school users with questions such as "Today, how much did adults who work in your school treat students with respect?” via mobile devices. The company was started in 2010 by Dan Kindlon and Steve Buka, both experts in child development and is in use in places that include schools in Providence, RI, Somerville, MA and Region 14 schools in Connecticut, among others.

Riipen: Aims to connect students with companies that might hire them by surfacing the work that students do for class and professors with companies interested in the research. Companies already in its network include Lululemon, Microsoft, Nestle and Pepsi. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Riipen was founded by two former undergraduate students who were frustrated by the challenge of finding a skilled job straight out of college.

Zulama - The Pittsburgh-based company offers game design curriculum developed by faculty from Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. The curriculum includes instruction and assessment both online and offline, as well as project-based learning materials. It supports coding in professional languages (Python, Ruby-on-Rails, Javascript) and screenwriting and game production and marketing. Zulama serves more than 100 middle and high schools (and 12,000 students). Schools spend an average of about $5K per year on the materials, which are available as short and long courses.

LearnLaunch is working hard to give its companies a strong launch point. The Boston-based accelerator has said it will collaborate with EduLab Group, a Tokyo-based education company started in March 2015 that is making seed investments in edtech and is also developing its own school management system. In a press release, Junichi Takamura, EduLab Group President and CEO, said “Our platform in Asia continues to grow, and our investment arm in the U.S. is building a smart portfolio that will eventually utilize our distribution channels in China, Japan and India."

Applications for LearnLaunch’s fall/winter cohort opens on August 15. Companies accepted into the program are eligible for $20K in cash and possibly a $100K convertible investment note, in addition to networking support and classes.  

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