Meet Hopscotch: Winners of the NYC BigApps Competition


Category: Best Lifelong Learning App

Award: $20,000


Today we speak with Jocelyn Leavitt and Samantha John, founders of Hopscotch and BigApps competition winners in the Best Lifelong Learning App category.



Tell us about the app.

Hopscotch is a visual programming language for iPad.  It is the first ever language designed specifically for a mobile device.  Kids can use the friendly touch-screen interface to create their own games and apps.

As coding becomes the new literacy, kids will need a way to begin to learn to program.  However, most programming languages have complicated syntax rules, making them hard for kids to grasp.  With Hopscotch, kids can drag and drop blocks of code to build projects with zero typing. It’s like legos for software–part tool, part toy, part learning experience. Not only will kids grasp the fundamentals of computer science, they’ll also gain valuable algorithmic thinking and problem solving skills, all while building their own fun projects.

What market are you attacking and how big is it?

We’re in a similar market as LEGOs or Minecraft: an open-ended, creative toy for kids, where problem-solving and learning is a byproduct of play.

What is the business model?

In-app purchases of kits. Similar to LEGO kits, they’ll include instructions and assets needed to build a cool, custom app on Hopscotch.

Tell us about your experience with the NYC BigApps Contest.

BigApps is such a cool way to get developers to use civic datasets and support local companies.  NYC is incredibly cutting-edge in this regard–I haven’t heard of any other city doing anything quite like this.  It’s awesome.  For Hopscotch, we used bit.ly to integrate a custom hop.sc address for every project that a user saved.  We were so honored to be named the Best Lifelong Learning App.  Jocelyn was particularly excited to meet Mayor Bloomberg when we collected our prize, since she has been a fan of his for a long time.

Why did you choose NYC over other locations to launch your app?

We (Sam and Jocelyn) met in NYC.  There is a terrific and growing tech ecosystem here, so talent, expertise, mentorship and investors are all nearby.  NYC is also the media capital of the country–not to be underestimated for brand partnerships and editorial coverage, which is key to getting noticed amid all the new software being built.

Learn more about NYC Big Apps.

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