$140,000 in Prizes Awarded for Annual Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition
University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education & The Milken Family Foundation Announce 2015 Education Business Plan Competition Winners
May 13, 2015
Philadelphia, PA, May 13, 2015—The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) and the Milken Family Foundation announced the winners of the sixth annual Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC) today. Winning ideas included platforms to connect parents with teachers, apps to provide personalized lesson plans for students with special needs, and programs to keep low-income students on track to finish college.
As the largest competition of its kind, the EBPC features multiple cash and in-kind prizes totaling $140,000. This year’s competition included a new path devoted to Idea-stage ventures as well as a competition pathway devoted to more mature, but still early stage, start-up Ventures. Prizes were awarded in both categories. All Idea and Venture Path finalists will receive access to a suite of tools through Microsoft BizSpark. Finalists may also be invited to join the Fall 2015 cohort of The Education Design Studio Inc. (EDSi), a hybrid incubator and seed fund built specifically for education ventures that was launched in collaboration with Penn GSE in 2013. Today’s winners include:
Grand Prize: $40,000
- Kinvolved, of Brooklyn, NY, an app facilitating two-way text and email communication among members of students’ support networks. Kinvolved currently reaches 30,000 students in 135 schools across the country, improving attendance, parental engagement and homework completion. The company aims to be working in half of all schools in the U.S. by 2020.
- The Venture Path Grand Prize winner will also receive $60,000 in Azure credits.
Additional Venture Prizes: $20,000 each
- AdapTac Games, of Darien, CT, creates behavioral health educational tools for kids as a safe and enjoyable option for skills training. The company’s first app is a research-based game to help children with ADHD. Recognized for addressing the special education marketplace.
- Byndr, of Conshohocken, PA, is a mobile learning management system for higher education aimed at universities in emerging markets. Based on social media platforms, Byndr is currently being used by three universities in India. Recognized for addressing the Higher Education marketplace.
- Code Monkey, of Tel Aviv, Israel, teaches students age 9-16 to code using an engaging online game that teaches a real-world programming language. Code Monkey is currently used in half of the schools in Israel. Recognized for addressing college readiness.
- Mosa Mack Science, of Brooklyn, NY, a platform for teaching science to middle school students. Lessons start with Mosa Mack, an interactive cartoon in which the title character models scientific thinking to solve mysteries. Mosa Mack is being used in 2,500 classrooms. Recognized for addressing gender and cultural diversity in STEM learning.
- Voter’s Choice (crowd vote): $1,000
Mosa Mack Science
Grand Prize: $10,000
- Yenko, of Brooklyn, NY, a mobile-first platform using real-time academic performance and financial data to help low-income college students stay on track for graduation.
Additional Idea Prizes: $2,000 each
- ActualizeMe, of Philadelphia, PA, a digital platform to help high school students discover a career path.
- Course Lab, of Wilmington, DE, an interactive syllabus creation and content sharing platform to improve college-level teaching.
- Education Modified, of Brooklyn, NY, creates research-based portfolios that support teachers crafting personalized solutions for special needs students.
- JournalUp, of Philadelphia, PA, an online journaling program for seventh- and eighth grade students with interactive feedback.
Voter’s Choice (crowd vote): $1,000
- Education Modified
Considered the most prestigious and well-funded education business plan competition, the EBPC has earned a name for itself by attracting innovative ideas from around the world and spotting winning education innovations early on. Previous finalists include Raise.me, Eneza Education, and Citelighter – all of which have gone on to grow their ventures, attract investors, and have a positive impact on education. The EBPC is made possible through the generous support of the Milken Family Foundation, ACT, American Public University System, Educational Services of America, K12 Inc., McGraw-Hill Education, Microsoft, TSL Education, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Finalists are selected through crowd-sourced judging from teachers, investors, entrepreneurs, and researchers.
The Milken family—several of whom are Penn graduates—embody the Franklin spirit and through successful educational entrepreneurship. From pre-K services through college education for working adults, as well as investments in educational enterprises, they have demonstrated a commitment to the leaders of tomorrow. In their four decades of philanthropic activities, the Milken family has made education—particularly innovation in education—a cornerstone of their work. Visit the Milken Family Foundation for more information and follow the foundation on Twitter @Milken and Facebook.
Penn GSE is one of the nation’s premier research education schools. No other education school enjoys a university environment as supportive of practical knowledge-building as the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania. The School is notably entrepreneurial, launching innovative degree programs for practicing professionals and unique partnerships with local educators, and the first-ever business plan competition devoted exclusively to educational products, services, and programs. For further information about Penn GSE, please visit www.gse.upenn.edu/ or follow us on Twitter @PennGSE. To follow and participate in the 2015 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition, use the hashtag #MilkenPennGSE. For more on the work of Innovation@Penn GSE, please visit http://www.gse.upenn.edu/innovation or follow us on Twitter @GSE_innovates.
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Kat Stein, Exec. Director of Communications
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