Last week I had a great opportunity to sit down with five impressive educational technology startups and comment on their products & businesses. The occasion was Sanoma’s startup challenge co-located with The Next Web conference in Amsterdam and I was one of the mentors – what an honor!
The five finalists were all addressing different challenges related to education, making it very hard to prioritize them. They were:
- EduKey from Wales, with the Class Charts product. Class Charts aims to facilitate teachers’ daily lives by providing an easy way to restructure class seating according to different criteria.
- Eduvee from England. Eduvee is a curation platform combining commercial content with open web resources, offering nice dashboards & other tools along the way.
- Jumpido from Bulgaria. Jumbido is a Kinect-game, mashing together physical and learning exercises.
- Labster from Denmark. Labster offers an immersive 3D laboratory environment for running simulations and experiments, which would otherwise require very expensive equipment.
- WeWantToKnow from Norway, with the DragonBox game. DragonBox is a popular mathematics game, taking an innovative approach in combining gaming and equations.
All teams gave great pitches. It was easy to tell that these startups had already been around for a while and presented their things to various stakeholders. They knew their products inside and out, making it easy to engage in discussions with us mentors. You’re going to hear from these guys!
Labster eventually won the challenge, mainly by virtue of two reasons: potential of making a big impact in education, and an excellent team running the show. Congratulations Mads & the rest of Labster!
One of my personal favorites was DragonBox. It has so novel and innovative approach to combining gaming & maths. You often see these two things quite separated in apps, but not this time. I just installed DragonBox on my iPad, planning to dive in today with my 6 year old daughter.