After months of preparations, they’re ready to take on the world.
Here’s a sneak preview of the eleven companies that are going to kill it at Kaplan EdTech Accelerator Demo Day. And they’re anything but par for the course.
Maya Gat, CEO & Cofounder
David Magier, JD, COO & Cofounder
Branching Minds is a web application that brings together learning scientists and learning specialists to help teachers and parents identify students’ learning challenges, match them with research-backed learning supports, and then track and report on students’ progress. After all, learning is individual and one size never fits all.
“The Kaplan EdTech Accelerator was a springboard for the growth and development of Branching Minds. In just three months, our team expanded and we launched our initial beta product. Branching Minds was able to tap into the knowledge and experience of leading learning scientists, like Kaplan’s Chief Learning Officer Bror Saxberg, to help bring cognitive science to classrooms around the country,” said the founders.
As native New Yorkers, being in NYC made it easier for the team to participate in the accelerator – and maintain a family life nearby. Co-founder and CEO Maya Gat (who has over 10 years of classroom experience) gave birth to her second child just four weeks before the program began, and co-founder and COO David Magier and his wife are expecting their first child shortly after Demo Day.
Jamie Rosenberg, Founder & CEO
ClassWallet allows administrators, parents and vendors to connect with teachers for peer-to-peer funding and purchasing for anything from supplies to technology to field trips, on a single platform.
“ClassWallet was more conceptual and broad before the team arrived at the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator. Through our strategic mentors, we managed to accelerate our product and technology road map, as well as solidify our position in not only the EdTech vertical, but FinTech as well. The introductions provided by the Accelerator into virtual currency and how it can help teachers in the US gave us firm direction as to what to do, who to talk to, and how to get it done,” said founder Jamie Rosenberg, who has15 years’ experience in the education space, by way of having founded AdoptAClassroom.org, one to the country’s largest education philanthropies, which distributed $25M to teachers in 30% of US schools.
And why did they bring the company to NYC?
“New York is home to some of the best tech, talent, and venture capital in the world, and having access to that has helped us learn and grow as individuals and as a company. Additionally, the exposure to a city so full of education technology companies gave us exposure to tons of relationships that we now leverage as a company,” said Rosenberg.
Joanna Schneier, CEO
Cognotion delivers immersive mobile training solutions for the entry-level millennial workforce on a user-configurable, industry-specific, and cloud-based platform. Hey, they’ve gotta learn somehow!
“The mentorship and access provided through the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator has been instrumental to Cognotion’s growth at this crucial, incipient stage in our development. We have been introduced to countless individuals whose insights have allowed us to develop our marketing strategies, find our target audience, and build out our platform. We have always known that we have a great product, but now we can move forward with confidence as we bring our immersive, entry-level training programs to corporations and governments around the world,” said CEO Joanna Schneier, who served in the Israeli army and spent 14 years in the EdTech Space.
She’s also a CODIE Award winner.
So, why New York?
“As a New York-based company participating in the program, we have found immense value is sharing insights with other start-ups from around the nation.”
David Ronick, CEO
CreatorBox delivers fun projects families build together that inspire kids to learn about STEM. They’re build-it-yourself educational toys for kids ages 6-12 that inspire young creators.
“The Kaplan EdTech Accelerator’s network has been a tremendous help,’ said CEO David Ronick. “Through that network, we met and got advice from CEOs of companies that have already grappled with many of the challenges we were about to face. We’re following a subscription e-commerce model, selling monthly boxes with educational projects for children. We got in-depth insights, caveats, and recommendations that saved us time and money, from founders of related companies including Plated, MakersKit, Babbaco and others. Those founders were incredibly generous with their time, open to sharing the details of their experiences, and eager to help fellow founders. We also had a very positive impact from the Kaplan network, largely via mentors who provided support, advice and inspiration on a weekly basis.”
So, why NYC?
“We needed specialized product design talent, and were able to recruit three graduates of NYU’s Tisch School ITP program on short notice.
Now, go forth and tinker. And learn something, while you’re at it!
Nicolas Miller, Cofounder & CEO
Edvisor.io is a global distribution system that aggregates school data and distributes to global educational travel agencies. In other words, Edvisor.io increases access to global educational opportunities by seamlessly connecting schools and educational travel agencies via integrated web tools.
“The Kaplan EdTech Accelerator has helped us build a mentor network that is focused and relevant to our industry. In terms of traction, we were able to leverage the relationships with our mentors to fine tune our customer acquisition strategies and show 10% growth week over week for the past 8 weeks!” said CEO and cofounder Nicolas Miller.
“Being in NYC has been great, The tech scene here is huge, and as such there are a lot of opportunities to network and learn from those around you. There is also much higher exposure to investors here, because there just so many more.”
The team came from Vancouver to participate in the program. And thus traveled for educational purposes themselves
Karl Rectanus, CEO
Lea(r)n improves the way schools and districts try, buy and use education technology. Designed by and for educators, the online platform collects and quantifies up to five levels of data – including teacher insights and public data on every school – to save time, save money and avoid costly mistakes.
“Since starting at the Accelerator, Lea(R)n has launched LearnTrials.com,
with over a dozen public and private schools, districts and large networks, including the Silicon Valley Education Foundation and the State of North Carolina,” said CEO Karl Rectanus. “Plus, Lea(R)n has built and is actively working a pipeline that represents more than 200,000 educators — impacting over 2 million students — with more users joining every day.”
Being in New York City during the Accelerator has made it easier for North Carolina-based team to engage mentors and connect with capital, especially the sector specific experts who understand their market.
“While the City is significantly more expensive than Raleigh, the rapid access, density of talent and the pace of the city have been a valuable boost to our efforts,” said Rectanus.
Rakel Solvadottir, Founder and CEO
reKode has developed a proprietary curriculum and specially designed tech centers to spark kids’ interest in the wonders of coding and technology. The platform teaches children from the age of six up how to code through a proven methodology developed by the company’s team of experts in psychology, teaching, and technology.
So yes, they’re educating the next generation of programmers.
“Coming from a little island called Iceland and entering the US market was a big step,” said reKode founder and CEO Rakel Solvadottir. “The Kaplan EdTech Accelerator has given us access to a network and the validation needed to succeed. We now have access to mentors with tremendous experience in the educational technology space, access to the knowledge that lies within Kaplan and Techstars, and lifetime support from all the other awesome teams in the program.
“As a female founder, being in NYC has made me realize how far Iceland has come, regarding gender equality. Iceland is ranked as the number one country to live in as a woman and it has actually been quite of a shock to see the difference between Iceland, Seattle (where I live now) and NYC. Being in NYC has confirmed my beliefs of how important it is to keep on developing a special reKode G!rls Academy to empower girls in Tech.”
Elad Inbar, CEO
RobotsLAB has created award-winning and standards-aligned programs that utilize robots as teaching-aids. The programs help teachers engage students in hard-to-teach math and science subjects by making them tangible, thus helping students with their career and college readiness.
Their featured product is the RobotsLAB BOX, a state-of-the-art teaching aid for engaging Math and Science students. The BOX comes with 50 hours of lessons, 4 demonstrative robots, and a pre-loaded instructional tablet
“The program helped us to tap into the Kaplan network; as examples, Kaplan CIO Edward Hanapole helped us build an online presence, and Kaplan’s Bror Saxberg and Leston Drake helped us structure a performance study with. The executive team at Techstars, Don Burton and TA McCann, helped us to push the limits and create even better and stronger business models,” said CEO Elad Inbar, an experienced C-level executive with vast experience in robotics, education and online marketing.
“As a San Francisco-based company, being in NYC opened us to a network of educators, investors and influencers that were out-of-reach previously. It definitely helped us and strengthen our understanding and connections on the East Coast.”
Chaitanya Chitta, Cofounder & CEO
SmartOn is an online bootcamp for digital skills, teaching specific technology tools in areas such as e-commerce, and digital and social media marketing, through project-based courses leading to certificates.
In other words, they’re offers high-impact courses for the 21st Century workplace.
“We have particularly benefited from the Kaplan Accelerator in three-areas: a) Focus: Our focus has shifted from solving for distribution to building on our core strengths of our courses / products; b) Validation: from some of the best minds in the industry including Kaplan executives and others operating in the space; c) Access to the Eco-system: Relationships we were able to build with partners, investors and mentors that we otherwise couldn’t have,” said Chaitanya Chitta, the company’s cofounder and CEO. “Starting in a couple of months, we will be doing business with at least three partners whom we met during the program.”
SmartOn is a New York company.
“We are New York-headquartered company, though we have a significant presence in Bangalore, India. NYC has a great ecosystem for EdTech start-ups, and we were able to meet with several peers and mentors who have become our friends and advisors. Also, NYC offers tons of options to reflect and relax in an otherwise intensive program!”
And when you’re working long hours in a city that never sleeps, someone’s always awake when you need them.
Carol Barash, CEO
Story2 puts students in charge of the admissions process, through their proprietary Moments Method® curriculum. Story2 guides students through the steps, so that they’re able to write a powerful admissions essay, in their own voice. It also connects students with a network of trained admissions experts, who will also help them through the process.
“We applied to the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator to build a platform to disrupt and democratize US college admissions and teach students storytelling and writing competencies that are essential for work and learning, ” said CEO Carol Barash, who is a life-long educator. “Kaplan’s expertise across all types of education enabled us to build our platform with a view to mass adoption and scale.”
Story2 is NYC-born and bred, with a global reach: the platform is currently serving students in over 56 countries. For educators, NYC provides a cornucopia of innovative schools–publics, charters, and independents–and thought leaders at public and private universities.
“CUNY was a tremendous resource to us in our early research around storytelling and writing fluency,” said Barash.
Harshil Parikh, CEO
You’re never too young to learn, and Tuva Labs empowers students of all ages to learn critical data literacy skills around their favorite topics or desired careers.
“We have gotten fantastic traction since the start of the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator program. Today, teachers in more than 2,300 schools across 50 states and 45 countries are using Tuva with their students,” said CEO Harshil Parikh.
“Being a NYC-based company, it’s been wonderful to be part of the growing, diverse startup community in this city. Technology is impacting all aspects of our society, and being exposed to ideas, products, and companies across these different sectors allows us build a better product and company.”