After kicking off with an opening party last Friday night, 1776’s Challenge Festival went into full swing yesterday, with the first of four semifinal competitions that will take place throughout the week. Of the 16 education startups that competed at last night’s Challenge Cup: Education Semifinals competition, D.C. semifinalist eduCanon and Tel Aviv’s Lingua.ly successfully pitched their way into Saturday’s Global Finals. Additionally, we have the results from our poll on who you, the readers, believe is the hottest education startup in the Challenge Cup.
— 1776 (@1776dc) May 12, 2014
Domestic Finalist: eduCanon
EduCanon is a platform that allows teachers to use online video content to supplement their lesson plans. The platform easily allows users to grab video content from sites like YouTube, Vimeo, or TeacherTube, and create assignments directly on top of that content. According to cofounder Ben Levy, the company has grown thirteen-fold since they pitched at the Challenge Cup DC Regional Competition last October, adding 20,000 teachers to their user base (for comparison, when I spoke to Levy in mid-February, eduCanon had 8,000 users). They managed to beat out the seven other U.S. education startups for a spot at the Finals competition.
International Finalist: Lingua.ly
Lingua.ly, the international finalist in the education category, is a digital language learning platform that utilizes content on the web to provide users with a more natural language processing method. Available as a Chrome extension and as an app for Android or iOS, the platform tests your level of proficiency through initial quizzes, and then recommends articles from around the web for you to read based on that level in your chosen foreign language. According to CEO, Jan Ihmels, Ph.D., there are approximately 2 billion language learners in the world – a whopping $125 billion market. He adds, though, that the traditional methods of learning a language don’t transfer well when those language skills are tested in the real world – which is an issue that Lingua.ly targets.
Hottest Education Startup (Readers’ Choice): Squirrelthat
According to Tech Cocktail readers, Squirrelthat is the Challenge Cup’s hottest education startup. It’s a platform that allows users to capture their learning immediately on any device. Users can then choose what they want to do with it—including share it with groups with similar interests.
In each of the Challenge Cup’s four categories (education, energy, health, and smart cities), 16 startups from the United States and abroad compete for a spot in the Finals competition – with one domestic startup and one international startup earning the chance to compete in the Finals. Tomorrow night, 16 more startups will compete in the Challenge Cup: Energy Semifinals, during which two more startups will join eduCanon and Lingua.ly in Saturday’s Challenge Cup: Global Finals.