This coming Friday is "graduation" day for the third
cohort of companies fostered by the Imagine K12 accelerator. Here's
where we described the entire program. This week, we're going to start
profiling some of the companies. We'll keep going 'till we've covered all 11
newly hatched firms. If you have used or experienced any of these companies, we
invite you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
EdCanvas: a virtual
place where teachers can collect and curate digital materials, piecing them
together so as to create a lesson for students or to share with other teachers.
Amy Lin, Gabriel Cebrian and Steven Pell met
while working at Microsoft in Redmond. They were drawn together by their desire to do something in education. Lin played an active role in Seattle-based
Meetups on edtech. She even captured top marks at a Startup Weekend EDU in
Seattle around the idea of creating a product to help teachers communicate with their students.
Bolstered by that success, Lin, Cebrian and Pell pitched their idea to the Imagine K12 founders--and it fell flat. The accelerator had just launched a similar product--Remind 101--and wasn't eager to create a second version. But the team members seemed so promising that Imagine K12 offered them a spot--provided they'd come up with a new idea.
Lin and her colleagues poured themselves into research. By Lin's count they interviewed or talked with 200 teachers over about three weeks, probing the problems and frustrations that they experience every day. Their conclusion:
Teachers were eager to have an easy place where they could collect, annotate
and organize digital materials.
Secur.ly: A cloud-based technology that lets schools filter web traffic easily and can be extended to cover mobile devices that students bring home.
Blocking nasty content has been a bugaboo for the Web since the first picture drifted through the ether. It got worse when YouTube videos flooded into children's devices.
Vinay Mahadik and Bharath Madhusudan were engineers at McAfee Software and Huawei-Symantec, software powerhouses that provide security software (such as programs for cleaning up computer viruses). As they and their extended families began to have children, the two engineers began to scrutinize how to protect children from unwanted content using the latest cloud-based techniques. Over the past decade, NetNanny has become a
popular solution for parents at home. But the downloadable software was designed for parents at home--not schools--and has yet to cover iOS devices.
"The same problem parents have at home is amplified in the schools," says Madhusudan.