Seven startups pitched before Michael Dell and a panel of judges at Dell World and Austin-based PenPal Schools won the Pitch Days 2014 competition.
“We were incredibly impressed,” with all of the startups, Dell said. “Ultimately we liked PenPal Schools as the winner.”
PenPal Schools, a Capital Factory incubator company which moved to Austin three months ago, connects more than 50,000 students from more than 40 countries worldwide, said Joe Troyen, its founder. PenPal Schools participated in the New York-based ed tech accelerator Socratic Labs.
PenPal Schools allows students to practice their language skills through one on one PenPal interactions and by learning through news and current events, he said. It also lets them learn about new cultures and countries, he said.
PenPal Schools is growing quickly through word of mouth marketing among the teachers and schools, Troyen said.
PenPal schools also offers PenPal Lingo curriculum which connects students to native speakers to learn about life in their PenPal’s country.
Dell judged the competition with Heidi Messer, co-founder of Collective[i] and Chris Valentine, producer of the annual SXSW Accelerator competition.
Dell for Entrepreneurs presented the Pitch Slam event at Dell World. During 2014, Dell held more than 10 pitch slam competitions nationwide with the top companies in Healthcare, Education and the Internet of Things winning a spot in the competition at Dell World. Each company gave a five minute pitch followed by questions and answers.