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Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

2012 Finalists

Saad Alam and Lee Jokl

Venture: Citelighter

New York, NY, USA

Citelighter consists of two components: a highlighting framework and collections of curated facts. The highlighting framework ( is an intuitive online research platform that enables students to quickly find and record facts, automatically cite sources, and write better papers/documents. The facts curated by students through the highlighting framework are then aggregated by topic and published onto “Knowledge Cards” for both users and non-users to learn from and incorporate into their own research.

Saad Alam: CEO and Co-founder, Saad Alam's previous experience includes running Sales & Marketing for Health Central (3rd Largest online healthcare publisher at the time), and Market Research & Business Development for a $2.8 billion pharmaceutical brand. Saad holds a MPH from Columbia, MBA from the University of Rochester, and BS from SUNY Albany. 

Lee Jokl : COO and Co-founder Lee Jokl 's previous experience includes the financial management of a $32 million P&L at CGI, Inc., which included all hosting and datacenter operations for all of CGI's US business. Lee holds an MBA from the University of Rochester, and a BS from Hobart College.



David Blake

Company: Degreed
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Degreed is the new degree for the new world. Degreed is a free service that scores and validates your lifelong education from both accredited (i.e. Harvard) and non-accredited (i.e. iTunesU,, Khan Academy, etc.) sources. 

David Blake is the Co-founder and CEO of Degreed. Previously, David helped launch, the world's most affordable private university, and was a founding member of Zinch, which was successfully acquired by Chegg. David is a Stanford d.School EdTech Entrepreneur.



Shay Eyal

Company: EyalGPS
Location: Kiriat Bialik, Israel

500 million people around the world cannot use a mobile device, including; illiterates, dyslexics, blind, visually impaired, special needs, adults and more. They cannot use the mobile device because it is simply Not Accessible for them. The Grand Prizes Winner, Personal Spokesman application (written patent) is the new generation of text to speech for mobile that reads any text which appears on the mobile screen in any language with a natural human voice. With Personal Spokesman application any one can easily operate the mobile phone and learn letters, words, sentences, new languages and much more with a single button click.

About Shay Eyal:

I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, it started since I was 8 year old, waking up every day early in the morning selling sandwiches to my neighbors.

The moment I finished my army service at the age of 22, I have stated to explore the blind community in Israel and worked as an instructor of special needs population. During those years I identify a serious pain of the special needs population - they are afraid and cannot use the mobile device freely. Having a special needs brother, I continue exploring this market and established EyalGPS company.

EyalGPS provide a unique Text To Speech mobile application for the special needs population that reads any text which appears on the mobile screen and make it Accessible and simple to use the mobile.

The solution became a great success in Israel (especially for the blind and visually impaired community), Won the 1st places of global and international competition around the world and is being implemented today for the global market.

I deeply believe that real entrepreneurship must contain 2 main valuable ideas Simplicity and Sustainability.



Ross Katz

Company: Ednable
Location: Arlington, VA, USA

Ednable, a non-profit program, is the first online vocational training program for persons with disabilities to offer a 100% placement rate to its participants, free of charge. Through partnerships with private companies and assistive technology organizations, Ednable takes available jobs in the marketplace, translates them into an accessible online curriculum, and prepares persons with disabilities to do high quality work in jobs at which they can excel.


Ross Katz is Executive Director of PearlVC. After graduating from Duke University in 2007 with a joint bachelor’s degree in Economics and Public Policy, Ross became a corporate strategy consultant for the Corporate Executive Board in Washington DC. In 2010, Ross moved to China to teach English at Nanchang University in Jiangxi Province, where he acquired fluency in Mandarin using EdTech study tools and taught English and Mandarin-to-English translation to over 400 students. Returning to the U.S. with a passion for EdTech, Ross joined 2tor as an Analyst in 2012, helping the company to revolutionize higher education by offering top-quality master’s programs online from the world’s elite universities. Ross is passionate about helping people to realize their potential using new technologies to change the way we teach and learn.



Rebecca Li & James Mak, Co-Founders

Venture: Genii, Inc.
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA


Genii is building the first language games aggregation platform to create a fun, social, motivating learning experience for language learners around the world. This platform will aggregate a multitude of 3rd party games under a common set of monitoring tools and licensing as a total gamification solution for teachers as well as individual learners to supplement formal curriculum.

James Mak specializes in program and product management and software development of web services, mobile applications and network software. He brings on board the critical technical expertise for building a scalable architecture and the knowledge for selecting suitable technological components and personnel for developing our first game VocabGenii. James holds a B.S. from Columbia University and an M.S. from Boston University. He speaks three languages.

Rebecca Li has worked for over 15 years in consulting and sales & marketing. She has acted as both the consultant and the client in formulating and executing marketing strategies for global companies. In addition to corporate clients, Rebecca also had experience motivating prospective students in their test preparation and admissions process. Rebecca holds a B.A. in Computer Science and Mathematics from Wellesley College and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management. She speaks English, Mandarin & Cantonese Chinese, and Japanese.



Toni Maraviglia

Company: M-Prep Inc. (US Corporation) and M-Prep Ltd. (Kenyan Subsidiary)
Location: Kenyan Headquarters are in Nairobi, Kenya; Registered as a U.S. Corporation

mPrep is a Khan Academy for the bottom of the pyramid. We give students access to quality study materials aligned to local content using ubiquitous mobile devices, and we give schools access to meaningful data about their students. We believe that even schools that don’t have access to the internet yet deserve quality educational materials too.

Toni Maraviglia is the Founder of MPrep, an edtech company that uses simple mobile technology to give the poorest schools in the poorest parts of the world access to quality educational materials. Toni has been a teacher/educator for over 7 years, starting as a Teach For America corps member and program director in New York City. She also holds a Masters in Teaching, and in 2008 she started a successful pay-for-performance educational program in rural Kenya called WISERBridge. She is a strong supporter of ICT in education, co-founding the EdTech Meetup Group in Nairobi, and she firmly believes mobile devices can change the way we teach, learn, and think.



Megan Marcus (CEO and Founder)
Katerina Manoff, Bianca Figueroa Santana

Venture: FuelEd
Location: Cambridge, MA, USA

FuelEd is dedicated to strengthening teacher preparation by equipping teachers with essential social and emotional competencies. We believe that by developing these competencies, teachers will remain in the classroom longer and develop stronger relationships in schools – not only with students, but also with parents, fellow teachers, and administrators. In turn, these teachers will be better equipped to drive students’ academic, social, and emotional learning.

Megan Marcus holds a Masters in Psychology from Pepperdine University and is earning her Masters in Education, Policy, & Management from Harvard University. For the past year, she has conducted research on the social-emotional competencies of teachers at Boston Teacher Residency. Megan was also the lead researcher for The Social Neuroscience of Education , a book by Dr. Louis Cozolino, which explores how the best student-teacher relationships trigger neural plasticity. Megan's work on this book inspired her to re-imagine the way that our society currently trains and supports teachers, so that they can be better prepared to create relationship-based learning environments where students will best thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. Ultimately, she hopes that by placing a premium on social and emotional intelligence in the qualifications, training, and support of all teachers, FuelEd will empower teachers and schools to systematically place relationships at the center of learning.



Nikhil Paul

Company: Nfoshare
Location: Newark, DE, USA

Nfoshare is a social Q&A platform that connects college students questions to their professor, TA, tutor and their classmates to have real-time academic conversations anytime. Nfoshare's mission is to make learning social and fun within a classroom. 

Nfoshare was started by Nikhil Paul, a University of Delaware Electrical Engineer from the class of 2009 and was born out of his personal experiences and struggles with higher education learning. When Nikhil started as a freshman, he joined around 100 students all excited at the prospect of becoming engineers but at graduation, only 18 of them remained. This frustrated Nikhil and since then, he focused his energy on ensuring that no college student should ever feel like they are studying alone. While in college, Nikhil helped found a national award winning Bollywood dance team and the Red Cross club, one of the largest service organizations on campus. Nikhil also won 2009 Delaware's Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In his spare time, Nikhil serves as a boardmember on the Delmarva Red Cross Board and loves extreme activities, having done the Boston Half Marathon and Tough Mudder Race.



Beth Schmidt

Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Wishbone sends at risk high school students to after school and summer programs to pursue their passions. We believe that out-of-school time presents one of the greatest opportunities to level the playing field and give all students the chance to be on a successful life-path.

Beth Schmidt is a former Teach for America Corps Member, who taught 10th Grade English at Locke High School in South Central, Los Angeles. In her first year of teaching, Beth’s students were skipping class, missing assignments, and failing out of school. She was convinced that her students were struggling to find relevance. Beth raised money by running a marathon to send her students to after school and summer programs. She assigned her students to research a program they would like to attend and to explain why. 75% of her students turned in the essay (the class average was previously 10%) and seven students attended programs. All seven students graduated from high school, matriculated to college, and claimed that the experience made them realize why succeeding in high school was relevant to pursuing their passions. Four of the seven are now majoring in those same subjects in college.

     Beth graduated from Middlebury College and holds a Masters in Secondary Education from Loyola Marymount University. Beth was a Kauffman Labs Education Ventures Fellow. She believes in teaching students to help themselves, empowering them through the discovery of authentic and independent passions.



Jason W. Young

Company: Mindblown Labs
Location: Oakland, CA, USA

Mindblown Labs uses mobile gaming to inspire learning anytime, anywhere. The company makes games that teach high school and college students about personal finance and other 21st century skills.

Jason Young is an entrepreneur with a passion for education, personal finance and self-empowerment. Jason started his first business, J.W. Young and Associates Travel, a full-service travel agency, at the age of 13 and has been involved in a number of entrepreneurial efforts over the last decade. Before launching Mindblown Labs, he was a product manager and early employee at, an early stage Web 2.0 startup that helps normal people invest more effectively. Before Wikinvest, Jason worked at Merrill Lynch. Jason graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in economics.