This year Jisc’s edtech startups competition has a twist. Next week, nine teams will pitch live to a crowd of sector experts and peers at Digifest, in an attempt to bag the grand prize of a support package worth up to £20,000.
From an AI content production tool to the ‘Spotify for textbooks’, what are the next big startup ideas that stand to shape the sector – and who would YOU like to win?
After their pitches, entrants will undergo a panel interview, and audience members will vote for their favourite startup using an app. The startup with the highest percentage of the public vote will go straight through, and four other startups will be decided based on the vote and interview.
Join in the conversation on Twitter with #jiscstartups.
In the running are…
Tackl is a smart university recruitment platform. It simplifies university recruitment process by building a university talent inventory and the access to it. As a result, students can get much higher exposure to matching opportunities and employers, and employers can search/hire students or new graduates quickly and with ease.
Tasha Hyeongyeon Choi is a founder of Tackl. Having an education background in both engineering and economics, she is ever enthusiastic about ‘bringing cool technologies to the market and package them into cool products or services’. Previously, she has worked with popular Silicon Valley tech companies like Dropbox, Pinterest, Cooliris (acquired by Yahoo), and Quid. Tasha launched her tech startup in 2015 to build a data-driven university recruitment platform to close the talent gap between academia and industry. Her goal is to build the next level solution for both students and employers and make university recruiting great again.
Ublend is a modern communication platform dedicated to education, it’s: ‘…the easiest way to unite your class online, giving students and instructors an intuitive and inspiring space to communicate, collaborate and share class material.’ Ublend allows for collaborative revision, gives instructors essential privileges, and supports ‘rich educational content’ such as equations and code.
Anders Krohn, co-founder and CEO, studied at five universities on three continents, from a small community college in Georgia, US, to the University of Oxford. He is the co-founder of Project Access, a non-profit levelling the playing field in admissions to top universities and an adviser to Young Global Pioneers, a non-profit establishing diverse talent networks across the world. Anders is a Fung Scholar, a Rotary Scholar, and a World Economic Forum Global Shaper.
VineUp provides web and mobile applications to universities that enable them to leverage the collective knowledge within their alumni network for mentoring and career development opportunities for both their students and young alumni alike.
Luke Deering MD started his career with Estée Lauder in NYC, before taking a job with a Battery Ventures-funded startup called Panjiva. He left Panjiva in 2010 to work on what ultimately became VineUp.
The world's first AI content production tool that creates online content in minutes not months. WildFire takes any document, PowerPoint or video and creates high-retention content in minutes. It’s based on recent academic learning theory on active 'effortful' learning, retention and recall.
CEO Donald Clark has 30 years experience in the online learning business with a successful track record as an entrepreneur. He’s a professor at the University of Derby and has taught in higher education institutions in the UK and US.
Fluence uses technology to close the gap between what experts say, and what audiences need to know. Users can upload course and student content to Fluence, to reveal the educational priorities of the course, the knowledge gap between subject and learner, and the optimal learning curve for delivering the content to students. The technology allows universities and training providers to improve student engagement and to cut undergraduate drop-out rates.
David Hoare, director, has a background in computational linguistics and education modelling. He spent the last five years at the helm of Rapid English, which delivers specialist literacy support to vulnerable people out in the community. Since 2016, David and his team launched technology spin-off venture, Fluence.
Hubbub builds a culture of giving in universities, making alumni, student and staff fundraising fun, engaging and inclusive. Hubbub helps university fundraising teams build strong relationships with students, staff, and alumni, engage them as volunteers or ambassadors, acquire new donors, and convert donors into regular supporters.
Hubbub is made up of a UK team of 15 spread across London and Bristol, with a two-person US office in Michigan and a new office opening in Connecticut in 2017. CEO Jonathan May is one of the leading experts in digital fundraising in the UK, is a More Partnership Associate, and 2017 Winston Churchill Fellow studying alumni networks in the US.
Bibliotech is the Spotify for textbooks. It’s a web app providing online access to thousands of textbooks and learning materials for an affordable monthly subscription fee. The unique model works for students, academics, universities, and publishers.
David Sherwood is a Rhodes Scholar, co-founder of teachlearngrow.org.au, and was responsible for raising and managing £150,000 to provide 10,000 hours of free tutoring and mentoring.
Goodwall is a social network where 14-19-year-olds build profiles to show what they have achieved, connect with universities and fellow students, find learning and internship opportunities and win scholarships and awards. It has a fast-growing and inspiring community of over 850,000 students from over 150 countries.
Osnat Shostak leads partnerships at Goodwall. She is passionate about education and helping students gain access to the right opportunities for them, whilst obtaining tools and guidance to realise these opportunities.
Samuel Inkpen leads business development in the United Kingdom, a key market for Goodwall. Sam is passionate about higher education, having begun his career at the London School of Economics and King’s College London in external relations roles.
Lumici Slate is a cloud-based lesson planning and delivery tool. Teachers can plan individually or collaboratively and share their plans with colleagues and students, wherever they are based. The software includes high-quality resources and makes it easier for teachers to share the ones they have developed or found and deliver lessons that their students are engaged in. Because it is online, it places no burden on an institution’s network and can be accessed by everyone from any device and wherever they are based.
Lumici hopes to remove the problem of lesson planning that impacts on teachers across all stages of education.
Atif Mahmood, founder and CEO, is a former teacher, director of learning technologies and educational technology project manager at Cambridge Assessment.
As a teacher, Atif saw first hand how using technology in the classroom can boost learning but also how difficult planning and applying it well can be for some teachers. He used this vision, along with his teaching and commercial experience, to develop his idea and launched the Lumici Slate in 2014. The aim of the company is simple, “to harness the power of technology to improve learning.”
Join us at Digifest 2017
We'll be celebrating the power of digital in education at Digifest 2017, taking place from 14-15 March at the ICC in Birmingham.
The winning startups will be announced at the event.