SAN FRANCISCO, March 4, 2014—co.lab, the edtech accelerator created by Zynga.org and NewSchools Venture Fund focused on developing innovative learning games, announced today a second cohort of companies for its four-month program. The accelerator, which launched in September 2013, recently celebrated the graduation of its first cohort, which included Kidaptive, Locomotive Labs, Motion Math, Pluto Media and Edmodo. The second cohort includes seven cutting-edge companies uniquely poised to expand and deepen their impact on academic and social outcomes for children around the world.
“We are extremely excited about the high quality and quantity of applications we received for co.lab’s second class. The seven startups we selected are among the most promising companies in this space and we are eager to see them refine, develop and scale their products during the coming months at co.lab,” said co.lab Executive Director Esteban Sosnik.
co.lab empowers startups leveraging the power of digital games to build transformative educational technologies for PK-12 students and teachers. To achieve this goal, co.lab’s inaugural cohort collaborated with Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) volunteers on refining product strategies, ramping up marketing and user acquisition efforts, improving product management, and enhancing user experience, retention and engagement while integrating feedback from students, parents and educators. At the end of the program, the companies presented business plans to a panel of respected venture capitalists and education experts, including Charles Hudson, partner at SoftTech VC, Jeremy Liew, partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, and John Danner, founder of Rocketship Education.
The second cohort, chosen from a pool of over 60 applicants, includes a diverse set of companies innovating at the intersection of education and games:
- BrainQuake (www.brainquake.com) delivers personalized, adaptive mobile math apps on a proprietary platform with state-of-the-art performance dashboards and analytics.
- Kid Bunch (www.kidbunch.com) is an e-toy studio creating award-winning digital adventures, toys and interactive stories for the entire family.
- Kiko Labs (www.kikolabs.com) melds game design and cognitive neuroscience to create training programs that help children develop critical skills like attention and reasoning.
- Pixowl (www.pixowl.com) develops The Sandbox, a unique educative world-building game named one of Apple iTunes Best Games of 2012 & 2013, offering infinite creative possibilities in crafting, pixel art, chiptunes music, contraptions and much more.
- Timbuktu (www.timbuktu.me) creates mobile games that help children stay fit and healthy. Winner of Best Children’s Magazine of the Year at Digital Magazine Awards 2013.
- TinyTap (www.tinytap.it) is creating a simple platform that allows users to design personalized educational games and learn from thousands of games shared by the TinyTap community. Winner of Verizon’s Powerful Answers Award for first prize in education.
- CourseMaster (www.course-master.com) is dedicated to providing an easy to use application platform for online/offline education.
The companies will co-locate in co.lab’s space at Zynga’s San Francisco headquarters for the program, which runs through July 2014. As with the previous cohort, Zynga is encouraging its employees to volunteer and share their expertise in areas such as game design, testing, analytics, product marketing and distribution. NewSchools is providing a range of support including access to expertise in edtech fundraising, instructional design and classroom integration.
“We are thrilled with how quickly co.lab has become a value-added resource for companies developing the most promising learning games and apps,” said Ken Weber, Executive Director of Zynga.org. “Our partnership with NewSchools Venture Fund, along with the contributions being made by Zynga game designers, educators, and the investment community, is adding up to measurable, lasting impacts on academic and social outcomes for 21st century students and teachers.”
co.lab is an accelerator that works with startups leveraging the power of digital games to build transformative educational technologies for PK-12 students and teachers. Our model is built upon a belief in the need for innovation in education, and in games’ potential to enhance learning – by creating virtual sandboxes that encourage experimentation and engagement, offering new opportunities for collaborative interactions, and unlocking new ways to assess cognitive and social growth. Our four-month program is designed to add value to early stage edtech companies while generating knowledge that will help designers, educators, researchers and funders better understand challenges and opportunities related to developing high quality learning games and applications. Learn more at http://www.playcolab.com.
About NewSchools Venture Fund
NewSchools is a not-for-profit organization committed to transforming public education through powerful ideas and passionate entrepreneurs so that all children—especially those in underserved communities—have the opportunity to succeed. We actively share what we’ve learned through our investments, bring together educational leaders from across the country, and advocate for smart policies at the federal level. Learn more at http://www.newschools.org.
Zynga.org is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to the idea that social games are a platform for social good. Zynga.org works closely with Zynga, Inc., a leading provider of social game services, to engage millions of game players in social impact through content and campaigns integrated into games. In addition, Zynga.org works with other game developers to leverage games to raise awareness and funds for nonprofits. Earlier this year, Zynga.org collaborated with Games for Change to produce Half the Sky: The Game, which has amassed more than 1 million players since its launch in March 2013. To date, Zynga.org has developed more than 150 in-game campaigns, raising more than $18 million for nonprofit organizations worldwide. Zynga.org is the cofounder of co.lab, a new learning games accelerator with NewSchools Venture Fund. Learn more at www.zynga.org.
CONTACT: Contact Information
co.lab – Cameron White (firstname.lastname@example.org)
NewSchools Venture Fund – Ellisa Feinstein (email@example.com)
Zynga.org – Kelly Pakula Kunz (firstname.lastname@example.org)