07 Aug 2015
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Intel to invest $800K in edtech startups

By Catherine Knowles

Intel has selected eight startups to take part in its first ever Education Accelerator, and announced Intel Capital, the company’s global investment organisation, is set to invest up to $100,000 in each of the companies.

In April of this year Intel Capital and Intel Education announced the formation of the accelerator, defining it as a specialised programme to help ed-tech startups transform education for student success.

After beating out nearly 200 other applicants, the selected startups will now begin a four-month programme that will provide them with working capital, veteran mentorship and dedicated workspace in Silicon Valley.

The Intel Education Accelerator lets selected companies receive guidance from technology, business and education experts; secure investments of up to $100,000 each from Intel Capital; and leverage Intel’s global relationships with educators and governments in more than 100 countries.

Participants in the accelerator will receive access to weekly classes, coaching and opportunities to pilot their products in schools.

“We had a really strong global response during the application process, and we are extremely happy with the eight diverse companies that will be a part of our inaugural cohort,” says John Galvin, Intel vice president and general manager of Intel Education.

“These companies are eager to grow and make an impact on education, just as Intel has been committed to throughout our history. Together with our 50 mentors, we can’t wait to work with these impressive startups,” he says.

Judges and mentors for the programme include Tom Kalinske, former CEO of LeapFrog, Sega and Mattel; Intel Capital president Arvind Sodhani; Genevieve Bell, vice president of Intel Labs; and high-ranking officials from AT&T, Coursera, Goldman Sachs, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Silicon Valley Bank, VICE Media and the Walt Disney Co.

The programme culminates in a ‘pitch day’. Taking place on December 2nd, this is an opportunity for the participants to pitch their company and ideas to prospective funders.

The accelerator is open to both secondary school and higher-ed startups, with special consideration for companies focused on data analytics and adaptive learning.

The chosen startups are:

  • BeeLine, whose digital reading tools help students learn to read faster and help those with dyslexia and other learning differences read more fluently.
  • Echelon Creative, which replaces normal words in text messages with advanced synonyms, teaching a user new vocabulary words in context.
  • GotIt!, an on-demand knowledge platform that lets students post photos of schoolwork problems and instantly connect with a study expert who can provide detailed explanations.
  • Griti, which produces fast, on-demand video help that supports college students using on-campus peer networks of subject experts.
  • Myriad Sensors, maker of a wireless sensor called PocketLab that connects to a smartphone, tablet or Chromebook and instantly streams measurement data similar to that of expensive lab equipment. PocketLab helps educators and students bring science, technology, engineering and math to real-world settings.
  • ToneTree, which combines a small hardware unit with intelligent software to transform nearly any surface into an interactive musical instrument for innovative audio/visual education.
  • Vidcode, founded by software developers and educators Alexandra Diracles and Melissa Halfon to teach computer programming to teen girls by enabling them to upload their mobile videos to Instagram and customise them with code.
  • WriteReader, a literacy-based learning platform for children to create and share their own storybooks and improve their reading and writing skills through big data and adaptive learning.
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