Tag: education

The Challenge Cup Competition Takes Place at Capital Factory on Friday

logoThis Friday, 27 Austin startups will compete for a spot in the Challenge Cup.
They are competing in four categories.
In the education category, the startups are: Young Potential Development, Prepify, CultureBooster, Code Arcade and Aceable.
In energy, the startups are: Water Lens, nCarbon, MaglevTrans, InfiniRel and Curb.
In health, the largest category, the startups are: ePatientFinder, vPhysicians, Visible Health, Spot on Sciences, Pristine, Help Find Care, Fuel Our Future, Filament Labs, Chiron Health and Atlas.
In the smart cities category, the startups are: Aunt Bertha Software, VoterTrove, Spokefly, Reaction, NeedTo, Local Magnet and 121Giving.
The competition, put on by 1776, a Washington, D.C.-based accelerator, is part of a global search for the most innovative startups with solutions to solve the world’s most pressing problems.
The regional competition gives the startups a chance to win a spot in the final competition, the Challenge Festival, to be held in May in Washington, D.C. The regional winners receive travel expenses a hotel for a week for the final competition.
At the final competition, the Challenge Cup overall winner receives a $150,000 prize in the form of an investment from 1776.
So far, the Challenge Cup has held events in the following U.S. cities: Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Boston. It still plans events in Denver and San Francisco in February.
International events have been held in Berlin, London. And other events are planned for Sao Paulo, Brazil, Cape Town, South Africa, Tel Aviv, Israel, Beijing, China and New Delhi, India.
The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and runs through 9:00 p.m. From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. the companies will give one minute pitches. At 7 p.m., the judges will break and then announce the finalists.
The finalists, two from each category, will give five minute pitches and answer questions for three minutes from judges until 8:15 p.m. And after a fifteen minute break, the winners will be announced.
Tickets to the event are free but advanced registration is required.

TeacherGraph Wants to Solve Communications Problems at Schools

The team behind Ed-Tech Startup TeacherGraph

The team behind Ed-Tech Startup TeacherGraph

Joseph Van and Tony Le founded TeacherGraph, a software as a service (SaaS) application online that allows schools to send messages via email or text to parents and for them to send back messages all on one platform. Van spent some time Wednesday answering questions about the new startup which has just launched out of private beta.

Q. In simplest language, please explain what is TeacherGraph?

A. In the simplest language, TeacherGraph is a tool that allows schools and parents to communicate more effectively by putting all that communication into one application.

Q. How does it work?

A. As a teacher or an as an administrator or anyone in the school you can reach one or many parents with a click of the button. It’s really simple for the school to message the community. And teachers can blast the class with any reminder. But parents can also reply back to them with email or by text. It’s private and secure. Text messaging is really, really popular. It’s increasing the reach you can get in these socially diverse economic situations for people who don’t have a computer or email.

Q. What problem are you trying to solve?

A. How schools, administrators and teachers can reach parents easily and effectively. Right now, there is no way to make sure that the messages that parents are sending are being received or that the messages the schools are sending are being received. TeacherGraph is a new tool at a very affordable price that can tackle all forms of communication within the school at once.

Q. Who makes up your team?

A. Tony Le is the co-founder and we currently have four developers who are really talented and energetic individuals. We also have two business development guys.

Q. Why are you guys the ones to solve this problem?

A. Tony and myself sit at the intersection of education and technology. We have backgrounds in technology, communications and education.

Q. What’s your secret sauce that differentiates your product from the competition?

A. It’s a combination of things. We have a really, really great team with backgrounds in Google, Facebook and educational companies. There is a lot of talent on this team that is young. We’ve had a really vocal, awesome community of fans.

Q. Who are your customers?

A. We have tons of beta partners. As of Saturday, we opened up our Beta. We are working with a couple of schools and individual teachers throughout the U.S. K-12.

Q. Are you bootstrapped, angel funded or VC funded?

A. We are super bootstrapped. The bootstrapped route is doing very well for us.

Q. Where are you based in Austin?

A. Sometimes it’s on campus (at the University of Texas at Austin) and sometimes we’re based at Capital Factory. Other times we are working out of schools.

Q. What Austin startup resources do you use?

A. Austin has been such a great resource. The Capital Factory for one has been instrumental in connecting the right dots in starting a SaaS based company. We had a launch party on Saturday. It’s really awesome to know these teachers, administrators. It’s a great city to grow into.

Q. What’s the business model, how do you guys make money?

A. It’s free for teachers. Schools when they decide to adopt they pay on a monthly basis. Potentially – the pricing model is based on per user – per teacher.

Q. Who are your competitors?

A. We compete with all the really big enterprise level software companies that do 300 things at once. Then there are group text messaging services and another startup Remind 101.

Q. How are you going to acquire customers?

A. We’ll get customers through really great digital word of mouth. We have a very big Facebook following. It’s nice to see that active teacher community on Facebook. We can reach out to them on Facebook. We’re still pretty young. The Austin Ed-Tech Meetup in Austin has been a great resource.

Q. Anything else you would like to add or make a point of?

A. A lot of parents and schools want to know about the security of the platform. From a security perspective, how secure is this data and will this communication be public? It’s even more secure than it was in the past. When you are using Teachergraph the communications are encrypted and secure. Parents can safely receive texts and keep their communications anonymous.

Dell promotes the connected classroom at Dell World

Dell is one of the top suppliers of technology to schools.
In the past few years, Dell has worked to provide schools with total technology packages in what it dubs the “connected classroom,” says Snow White, (yes, that’s her real name) a former elementary school teacher who works in Dell’s education technology division. She demonstrated some of that technology at Dell’s Solutions Expo at Dell World. The company showcased a projector, called the S300wi Interactive, that works with Dell’s laptop computers, smart board and pointer to allow students and the teacher to interact on wireless systems in the classroom. The teacher can either write directly on the smartboard or use it to write on the board from across the room.

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