The FINANCIAL — A company that can turn a park bench into a piano. A Copenhagen startup that lets children as young as age 3 create and share their own e-books. A woman-founded partnership that teaches teen girls to code through a social medium they love. These are just three of the first cohort of startups selected to take part in the Intel Education Accelerator.
Intel Capital, Intel Corporation’s global investment organization, and Intel Education in April announced the formation of the accelerator, a specialized program to help ed-tech startups transform education for student success. After beating out nearly 200 other applicants – half of them from overseas – the selected startups on Monday will begin a rigorous and enriching four-month program that will provide them with working capital, veteran mentorship and dedicated workspace in the heart of Silicon Valley, according to Intel.
“We had a really strong global response during the application process, and we are extremely happy with the eight diverse companies that will be a part of our inaugural cohort,” said Intel Vice President John Galvin, general manager of Intel Education. “These companies are eager to grow and make an impact on education, just as Intel has been committed to throughout our history. Together with our 50 mentors, we can’t wait to work with these impressive startups.”
The Intel Education Accelerator lets selected companies receive guidance from technology, business and education experts; secure investments of up to $100,000 each from Intel Capital; and leverage Intel’s global relationships with educators and governments in more than 100 countries.
Participants in the accelerator – housed at GSVlabs of Redwood City, California – will receive access to weekly classes, coaching and opportunities to pilot their products in schools. Judges and mentors for the program include Tom Kalinske, former CEO of LeapFrog, Sega and Mattel; Intel Capital President Arvind Sodhani; veteran Silicon Valley journalist and entrepreneur John Battelle; Ronald Chandler, former chief information officer for the Los Angeles Unified School District; Genevieve Bell, vice president of Intel Labs; and high-ranking officials from AT&T, Coursera, Goldman Sachs, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Silicon Valley Bank, VICE Media and the Walt Disney Co.
The four-month program culminates in a Dec. 2 “pitch day” for the program’s entrepreneurs in front of prospective funders.
The accelerator is open to both K-12 and higher-ed startups, with special consideration for companies focused on data analytics and adaptive learning. Members of the inaugural cohort are:
BeeLine (Woodside, California), whose digital reading tools help students learn to read faster and help those with dyslexia and other learning differences read more fluently.
Echelon Creative (New York City), which replaces normal words in text messages with advanced synonyms, teaching a user new vocabulary words in context.
GotIt! (Menlo Park, California), an on-demand knowledge platform that lets students post photos of schoolwork problems and instantly connect with a study expert who can provide detailed explanations. The parallel ranking, bidding and matching engine was founded by Vietnam native Hung Tran, who previously led an international effort to build an open courseware program for millions of college students in his homeland.
Griti (San Francisco), which produces fast, on-demand video help that supports college students using on-campus peer networks of subject experts.
Myriad Sensors (Mountain View, California), maker of a wireless sensor called PocketLab that connects to a smartphone, tablet or Chromebook and instantly streams measurement data similar to that of expensive lab equipment. PocketLab helps educators and students bring science, technology, engineering and math to real-world settings.
ToneTree (Troy, New York), which combines a small hardware unit with intelligent software to transform nearly any surface into an interactive musical instrument for innovative audio/visual education.
Vidcode (New York City), founded by software developers and educators Alexandra Diracles and Melissa Halfon to teach computer programming to teen girls by enabling them to upload their mobile videos to Instagram and customize them with code.
WriteReader (Copenhagen, Denmark), a literacy-based learning platform for children to create and share their own storybooks and improve their reading and writing skills through big data and adaptive learning.
Over the past decade, Intel Education has helped more than 300 million students and 15 million teachers in 100 countries obtain locally relevant solutions, hardware, software and tools for learning and creating a more vibrant, interactive learning environment. During that time, Intel and the Intel Foundation have invested more than US$1 billion in education programs and technology access efforts for youth around the globe.