EdSurge: Newsela is so s'cool

Friday, December 27, 2013

Ed tech blog EdSurge came out with their list of the 20 most popular teacher tools for 2013 this week and named Accelerator alum Newsela #13, out of more than 350 reviewed this past year.

Newsela is a nifty online tool providing teachers with non-fiction reading materials, automatically leveled to different grade levels, which help prep students for Common Core reading standards.

"Newsela has crafted a partnership with long-time publisher, McClatchy Company. Newspaper writers take a story from a McClatchy paper and rewrite it four times, corresponding to a total of five Lexile levels of difficulty."

READ the full list "Counting Down the Top S'Cool Tools for 2013: #11-20," by EdSurge's Mary Jo Madda. 

BusinessInsider: Ranku ranks as a top 2013 startup

Monday, December 9, 2013

The year's end means year-end "best of" lists.  So, let the rankings begin...

Silicon Alley-based BusinessInsider named Kaplan EdTech Accelerator alum Ranku among its "Top 18" best startups for the year. To make the list, a company has to have "growth, promise, VC interest, and actual revenue."

What made Ranku, which aims to Yelp-ify the online college degree search process, a standout?

Says BI's Megan Rose Dickey:
Back in September, prolific investor and billionaire Mark Cuban led a $500,000 seed round in Kim Taylor's online education startup Ranku. Taylor was a co-star on Bravo's "Start-Ups: Silicon Valley" reality TV show last fall, which got canceled after the first season.
In June, Taylor and her team from Ranku joined the inaugural class of the Kaplan EdTech accelerator, sponsored by TechStars.
Ranku aims to make it simple for curious, knowledge-seeking individuals to find the best online degree program from top-notch universities.
For Ranku, the "best" school isn't necessarily the one with the highest ranking on the U.S. News and World Report list. Instead, the best schools in Ranku's lists are the ones that give students great job outcomes.

The Ranku Team  (Courtesy: Ranku, via BI)

READ the full list "The 18 Best Startups That Launched In 2013," at BusinessInsider.

EdSurge: Newsela Raises $1.2 M

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Accelerator alum Newsela, the NYC-based startup that helps teach reading with news articles scaled at different skill levels, just reported a $1.2 million seed round led by NewSchools Venture Fund, with participation by Kaplan Ventures, among others.

Newsela was part of the inaugural Kaplan EdTech Accelerator that ran this summer.

From EdSurge:
Since its beta launch three months ago, the company has seen "ridiculously explosive growth," in the words of co-founder and CEO, Matthew Gross. Newsela has registered users in all 50 states and 60 countries. Gross is keeping mum on the exact user numbers but did share that "right now we have 400 teachers and 3,000 students signing up every day." 

CHI or NYC for startups? MentorMob weighs in on Forbes.com

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Windy City vs. Big Apple? Deep dish vs. thin crust? Bulls vs. Knicks?

Add one more point of rivalry for denizens of these two great U.S. cities: "who's best for startup companies," New York's Silicon Alley or Chicago's Silicon Prairie?

Weighing in with their two cents is Chicago-based ed-tech company MentorMob, which recently "graduated" among the first class of the (New York City-based) Kaplan EdTech Accelerator.

As reported by George Deeb on Forbes.com:
MentorMob is a rapidly growing startup in the B2C education technology space.  The company was founded in Chicago in 2010, and was one of the first tenants of Catapult

Cisco's The Network: Verificient Technologies uses data to stop cheating

Monday, October 7, 2013

NYC-based startup Verificient Technologies―an alum of the first Kaplan EdTech Accelerator class―was profiled on the Cisco-sponsored blog, "The Network," for its use of "big data" to thwart online course cheating:
As online schools and courses become more popular, there remains a thorny question: How do you, say, make sure the people who take an exam really are the students they purport to be? Or, at a more traditional school, in a room packed with test-takers monitored by a remote proctor, how do you stop cheating?

Video | Demo Day 09.11.13

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Here's the full video of the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator's first Demo Day, which happened September 11th at The IAC Building in New York City.

GigaOM: Degreed 'disrupting the diploma'

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

GigaOM's Ki Mae Heussner writes about LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman's take on rethinking (and overhauling) education ("we need to apply new technologies to the primary tool of traditional certification, the diploma," says Hoffman),  with a nice shout out for the approach being pursued by Kaplan EdTech Accelerator alum company Degreed:

"But Degreed, a startup launched by a member of the founding team of ed tech company Zinch (which later sold to IPO-bound textbook rental site Chegg), comes closest to matching Hoffman’s vision of technology-driven credentialing. Its slogan (“jailbreaking the degree”) lines right up with Hoffman’s goal of 'disrupting the diploma' and its service is very similar to the design specs he lays out. 
The company, which has raised $900,000 in funding and just graduated from Kaplan’s TechStars-powered ed tech accelerator, gives users an online, updateable and machine-readable repository for tracking all of their learning — from a Harvard education to classes on Coursera or iTunes to educational books and videos. It also aims to score those experiences so that users and employers have a modular way of understanding a person’s collection of skills. Since launching last year, the company says, users have uploaded 1.5 million pieces of credentialing information to the site."

READ Ki Mae's full post "LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman on education: overhaul the degree, not just the instruction," at GigaOM (Sept 16, 2013).

VentureBeat: Live blogging Demo Day

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Kaplan CEO Andy Rosen, standing in front of a picture of Stanley Kaplan.( Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat) 
Technology pub VentureBeat was there to cover the action at the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator "Demo Day," held this morning in New York City.  The inaugural class of 10 ed-tech startups "graduated" and presented to group of investors and education influencers.  Read "TechStars-powered Kaplan EdTech Accelerator holds its first demo day in NYC," (Sept 11, 2013) on VentureBeat.

Team Updates|Countdown to Demo Day

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Demo Day (Wed Sept 11th) is around the corner and the 10 startups are furiously getting ready to present to funders and education sector influencers.

Let's check in with a few companies' CEOs as they share their experiences with Kaplan EdTech Accelerator.

Flinja | Victor Young

Mentor Mob | Kris Chinosorn

Ranku | Kim Taylor

Verificient Technologies | Tim Dutta

Meet the startups: Degreed

Friday, August 16, 2013

Meet David Blake, CEO of Degreed, a startup that's building a credentialing solution for lifelong learning, which scores and validates a host of different learning inputs.

Degreed is among the 10 companies invited to join the first-ever Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by Techstars.

Meet the startups: Uvize

Dave Cass, CEO of Uvize, explains how his company will help military veterans succeed in college academics.

Based out of Boulder, CO, this startup is a member of the inaugural class in the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by TechStars.

Meet the startups: panOpen

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Founder and CEO Brian Jacobs talks about PanOpen, which has developed an open educational resource platform that provides a framework for shared content.

New York-based startup PanOpen is among the 10 companies invited to join the first-ever Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by Techstars.

Meet the startups:Modern Guild

Meet Adrien Fraise, founder and CEO of Modern Guild, an online career prep service with a learning platform, one-on-one mentors, and customized curriculum.

Modern Guild is part of the inaugural class of the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by TechStars.

Meet the startups: Ranku

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Kim Taylor, CEO of Ranku, talks about her company's platform for ranking and marketing online, non-profit degree programs.

Ranku is part of the inaugural class of startups at the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by Techstars, this summer.

Meet the startups: Verificient Technologies

Meet Rahul Siddarth, CMO of Verificient Technologies, whose company is building a solution to scale online proctoring with machine learning.

Verificient is part of the inaugural class of startups in the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by TechStars.

In the news|Brazen Careerist blog: career advice from Modern Guild

Students need a DIY mentality in their career planning, starting as early as senior year in high school, writes Adrien Fraise, CEO of Modern Guild, one of the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator startups, on the Brazen Careerist blog.

"Career planning fits perfectly as part of the college selection and application process. Just as you evaluate your interests and passions to select the right school, you should also take this opportunity to consider different career paths and use those paths in your college selection process."

FYI  Modern Guild is an online one-on-one career mentoring service for college students and high school seniors and a member of the inaugural Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by Techstars, in New York City.

Meet the startups: Newsela

Monday, August 12, 2013

Meet Matt Gross, founder and CEO of Newsela, a NY-based ed-tech startup that's created a solution to deliver personalized literacy solutions, at multiple grade reading levels, using current news content.

Newsela is a member of the inaugural class in the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by TechStars.

Meet the startups: Flinja

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Flinja co-founder Victor Young talks about his company's growing peer-to-peer, college-centric job marketplace for students and alumni.

The San Francisco, CA-based startup is one of 10 companies chosen to be part of the inaugural Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by Techstars, this summer.

Meet the startups: Mentor Mob

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mentor Mobs' Kris Chinosorn, its co-founder and CEO (or "chief executive mobster"), explains how the company's crowd-sourced platform will curate the best learning resources for any skill.

Hailing from the Windy City, Mentor Mob is part of the inaugural class of startups at the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by Techstars, this summer.

Meet the startups: Playpower Labs

Friday, August 9, 2013

Here's Derek Lomas, co-founder and CEO of Playpower Labs, a Pittsburgh, PA-based startup that's creating an online platform of web and mobile math games for students in grades K-8; think "Angry Birds" meets fractions.

Playpower is one of 10 startups participating in the first-ever Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by Techstars.

Excitement builds as work begins

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The ten companies (see list) have settled into their work space at Kaplan's office in New York City's West Village/Hudson Square neighborhood. Already hard at work meeting with Kaplan and Techstars mentors and honing business plans, everyone's getting ready to meet investors at Demo Day (just three short months away).

Meet some of the mentors and companies and watch the exciting work begin...

Exclusive: Meet the first startups in Kaplan’s TechStars-powered EdTech Accelerator

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

By Ki Mae Heussner, GigaOM

The power of TechStars is being put to the test by the demands of education. On Tuesday, the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by the well-known Boulder, Colo.-based startup program, will announce its inaugural cohort of companies.

Back in February, the two companies announced the new New York-based program, which combines Kaplan’s expertise and cachet in for-profit education with TechStars’ experience mentoring and training up-and-coming startups. In addition to its debut class of 10 startups, which was selected from an applicant pool of 350, the companies announced that they have upped the amount of funding available to each startup. On top of the $20,000 given to each company in exchange for six percent equity, TechStars and Kaplan are offering each startup a $100,000 convertible note.

The Kaplan EdTech Accelerator powered by TechStars Kicks Off June 17, 2013!