Seven Edtech Companies Win 'iHub Pitch Games' Challenge to Test Their Technology in Classrooms

Contest Hosted by Silicon Valley Education Foundation and Comcast

09 Sep, 2014, 18:12 ET from Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF)

SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Seven education technology startups from across the nation emerged as winners today of the "iHub Pitch Games" held at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, earning the opportunity to test their science and math-friendly software in Silicon Valley schools.

The seven entrepreneurs selected are: BrightLoop, a web-based tool for tracking student progress; CodeMonkey, an online game that teaches computer programming; MathChat, which allows students to instantly help each other on math homework or classwork; TeachMe, an educational games and apps engine; Mathspace, an app that allows students to work through math questions on their tablets; Mosa Mack Science, a middle school science platform that uses short animated mysteries to boost student achievement and inspire budding scientists;  and Tuva Labs, which empowers students to learn basic data science skills around favorite topics or desired careers.

The Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF), Comcast and NewSchools Venture Fund sponsored the games that took place during Comcast's Youth Tech Summit, where Comcast updated Silicon Valley leaders on its Internet Essentials broadband adoption program.  Imagine K-12 also partnered in the "iHub Pitch Games" project. 

Modeled after the popular TV show "Shark Tank," startup entrepreneurs pitched their e-learning products to a prestigious panel of Silicon Valley educators and business leaders.  Initially, 41 startups applied for the chance to participate in the games, but only a dozen were selected to actually compete for seven spots.

Two dozen Silicon Valley teachers, or "iHub Fellows," representing 12 school districts will collaborate with the winning startups to test the e-learning software in their classrooms.

"Strengthening the connection between the startups and teachers is the optimum way to be able to test products more quickly and develop more relevant instructional technology tools for students," said SVEF CEO Muhammed Chaudhry.  "This moves us toward transforming classroom learning and improving student achievement." 

"The iHub Pitch Games are a terrific way to bring together entrepreneurs, technology companies and educators to develop better learning outcomes for our nation's young people," said David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President, Comcast Corporation. "As a company committed to education and improving digital literacy through our Internet Essentials program, Comcast is proud to partner with SVEF on this important initiative."

"The NSVF Seed Fund was thrilled to take part in this initiative helping education entrepreneurs develop a deep understanding of teachers' needs by connecting them with SVEF's extensive teacher network. A close partnership between edtech solutions and teachers will yield better results for our kids," said Jennifer Carolan, managing director of NewSchools Venture Fund Seed Fund.

The panel of judges included Jed York, CEO of the San Francisco 49ers; Jorge Titinger, president and CEO of SGI; David L. Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast Corporation; Dan Waremenhoven, board member and former CEO of NetApp; Mike Smith, former undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Education; Randy Phelps, director of technology at the East Side Union High School District (ESUHSD); Chris Funk, superintendent of ESUHSD; Julia Leeson, teacher with the San Jose Unified School District, and Amy Wong, director of instructional technology at Cupertino Union School District.

The "iHub Pitch Games" are a project of SVEF's Learning Innovation Hub (iHub), a network that connects product developers and teachers to test technology.  SVEF built the iHub to join the innovative ideas of edtech entrepreneurs with the in-depth knowledge of educators, who know what works in the classroom.

About SVEF
Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF) is a nonprofit resource and advocate for students and educators. We drive scholastic achievement in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by combining resources and partnerships to provide innovative academic programs. We are a catalyst for policy solutions in public education in the region. Our mission is to make Silicon Valley the leader in academically prepared students. 

About NewSchools Venture Fund

NewSchools Venture Fund is a non-profit venture philanthropy firm founded in 1998 to transform public education so that all children – especially those who have been traditionally underserved – can reach their potential. The NewSchools Seed Fund, founded in January 2012, has since funded over 30 early stage education technology startups developing the next generation of tools to support learning.

About Internet Essentials:

Internet Essentials from Comcast is the nation's largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. It provides low-cost broadband service for $9.95 a month plus tax; the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150 and multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online and in-person. Eligible families must have at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, including public, parochial, private and homeschooled students.

For more information or to apply for the program, visit www.InternetEssentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376, or, for Spanish, visit www.InternetBasico.com or call 1-855-765-6995.

SOURCE Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF)