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Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

2014 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition Finalists

Branching Minds LogoVenture name: Branching Minds
Description: Branching Minds is the first online tool that makes identifying, understanding and addressing learning challenges easy, fast, and affordable. Our tool combines neuroscience and technology to help teachers and parents hone in on which cognitive areas aren't pulling their weight in the learning process, and then recommends tailored, research-backed supports to strengthen them.
Founder(s): Maya Gat & David Magier
Twitter: @BranchingMinds

EduCanon logo with dachshundVenture name: eduCanon
Description: eduCanon is an online learning environment to build and share interactive video lessons. Teachers begin with any video content and transform what is traditionally passive content into an active experience for students. By embedding activities that students engage with as the video progresses the content is segmented into digestible components - increasing engagement and holding students accountable to the material.
Founder(s): Benjamin Levy & Swaroop Raju
Twitter: @educanon123

Open Assembly Logo

Venture Name: Open Assembly
Description: Open Assembly is an open courseware platform for instructors to easily assemble, remix and share modular courseware and other, granular Open Educational Resources (OER). The platform is specifically designed to facilitate content curation and collaboration within a learning path, by instructors and students alike. By leveraging the full creative power of openness and participatory engagement, Open Assembly creates new opportunities for co-teaching, co-learning, and co-research in digital learning environments.
Founder(s): Domi Enders
Twitter: @OpenAssemblyEdu

Osmosis Logo

Venture name: Osmosis
Description: Osmosis (Knowledge Diffusion; is a web- and mobile-platform that improves the way people learn and retain information. Its initial focus is on medical education, and to this end is currently used by approximately 10,000 medical students.
Founder(s): Shiv Gaglani & Ryan Haynes
Twitter: @OsmoseIt

pear deck logo

Venture name: Pear Deck
Description: All students love participating with Pear Deck. Teachers love the insight into student learning. Pear Deck makes it easy to build interactive formative assessments from Google Drive, and launch to student devices. Collect, Discuss, Adapt.
Founder(s): Riley Eynon-Lynch, Anthony Showalter, Michal Eynon-Lynch, Dan Sweeney
Twitter: @PearDeck

Professor Word Logo

Venture name: Professor Word
Description: ProfessorWord helps students learn vocabulary as they read online. Learn more and try our free beta tool at
Founder(s): Betty Hsu & Ivan Chang
Twitter: @ProfessorWord

Scholly Logo

Venture name: Scholly
Description: Scholly is a mobile app for IPhone and Android that gives high school students, current undergraduates, and graduate students a fast and simple way to find scholarships for college. Scholly uses eight specific parameters — such as state, race, GPA or major — to instantly filter listings into a comprehensive directory of scholarships for which the prospective applicant is eligible. Users can quickly sift through the tailored results, save a list of scholarships and export it to themselves via e-mail in order to apply online.
Founder(s): Christopher Gray, Nick Pirollo, and Bryson Alef
Twitter: @Scholly5

Smartest K12 Logo

Venture name: SmartestK12
Description: Instead of late nights sifting through stacks of student work, teachers can now better understand each individual student's needs and save time through Smarter Assignments. These assignments (either digitally enhanced versions of an educator’s current materials or interactive content made directly within the platform) change the paradigm of data-driven instruction, allowing any teacher to grade, track and communicate student growth in real-time using authentic, standards-aligned materials.
Founder(s): Craig Jones, Kevin McFarland, Dave Tanquary
Twitter: @SmartestK12

SmartyPAL logo

Venture name: SmartyPAL
Description: SmartyPAL is a mobile and game-based learning platform built on educational research & adaptive learning techniques. SmartyPAL works with a curated set of app developers and children's content publishers to create integrated, personalized apps that are truly educational. We are currently working on the app suite for ages 3-5, to be followed by ages 6-9.
Founder(s): Prasanna Krishnan, Kartik Hosanagar, Lakshmi Sudarsan
Twitter: @SmartyPalApps

Totus Power Logo

Venture Name: Totus Power
Description: Totus Power develops battery packs for low cost schools in developing countries from electric vehicles (EVs). Most of these schools lack access to reliable electricity to run their learning devices. Technology is a powerful educational tool, and our product enables underprivileged children to access it. By reusing Li-Ion batteries from EVs, our product captures their often-wasted value before recycling. We also lower the cost of recycling and EVs.
Founder(s): Shiv Rajendran
Twitter: @TotusPower

UClass logo

Venture name: UClass
Description: Founded in early 2012 by former Teach For America teachers and Columbia University roommates, UClass is the most powerful K-12 content management system and Common Core recommendations engine. UClass allows Common Core content from across a district to be pooled in one place, making curriculum access easy and efficient. This one-stop hub for content has industry-leading file sharing capabilities, standards-based tagging and a curated library of over seventeen million Common Core resources.
Founder(s): Zak Ringelstein, Varun Gulati, Leah Schrader and Chris Yim
Twitter: @uclassDOTorg

Ubongo Kids Logo

Venture name: Ubongo Kids
Description: Ubongo Kids is an edutainment cartoon that teaches kids in Africa basic STEM concepts through fun stories in local languages. It’s delivered via technologies that learners in Africa already have: broadcast media and basic mobiles, and also available online and soon as a mobile app. Students watching on TV can answer questions via SMS, and get personalized feedback and encouragement from their favorite cartoon characters.
Founder(s): Nisha Ligon, Arnold Minde, Thomas Ng’atigwa, Cleophace Ng’atigwa, Rajab Semtawa
Twitter: @UBONGOtz