Edtech Companies Come Face To Face With “Sharks” In iHub Pitch Games

January 23, 2014

Who Will Make It Out of the Tank and into the Classroom?

SAN JOSE, CA. – January 23, 2014 – Education technology entrepreneurs nationwide will gather for the iHub Pitch Games in Silicon Valley on Monday, February 3 to pitch their classroom e-learning products to education and business leaders. Modeled after the TV show, Shark Tank, the iHub Pitch Games give entrepreneurs the opportunity to battle for a place in the Learning Innovation Hub (iHub), a network that facilitates product testing and feedback for e-learning tools. 

The iHub Pitch Games will go from 4-7pm at the San Jose office of PricewaterhouseCoopers at 488 S. Almaden Blvd. Suite 1800, San Jose, Calif., 95110. The pitch event will be preceded by product demonstrations from 3:30-4pm. The iHub Pitch Games is by invitation only, as space is limited. Media interested in attending should contact Connie Skipitares at [email protected] or 408-205-8540.

With support from grant funding, the Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF) launched the iHub in partnership with NewSchools Venture Fund. SVEF built the iHub to bridge the innovative ideas of edtech entrepreneurs with the in-depth knowledge that educators have of what works in their classrooms. By strengthening the connection between these two groups, the project aims to develop the protocol for faster product testing and iteration to enable the development of more relevant and impactful instructional technology tools for the classroom.

“SVEF is very excited to bring educators and entrepreneurs together,” said SVEF CEO Muhammed Chaudhry. “We have so much talent and expertise here in our backyard. I know that, by drawing on that, we can really transform classroom learning and boost student achievement.”

Through an open call for applicants, SVEF selected “iHub Fellows” – educators who are thought-leaders in the edtech space. iHub Fellows not only receive a stipend and invitation to exclusive events, but will also be the pioneers in testing the latest technology tools in their classroom. The iHub Fellows selected represent school districts all over Silicon Valley including Cupertino Union, Evergreen, Mount Pleasant, Mountain View-Whisman, and San Jose Unified.

“Building effective classroom tools starts with understanding the needs and practices of educators,” said Jennifer Carolan, managing partner of NewSchools Seed Fund. “Our organization is thrilled to provide an opportunity for edtech entrepreneurs to draw on the expertise of SVEF’s rich network of Silicon Valley educators.  By facilitating product feedback loops between educators and entrepreneurs, we can enable the type of collaboration that will ultimately yield great outcomes for kids.”

Entrepreneurs participating in the iHub Pitch Games include BlendSpace, CueThink, eduCanon, Front Row Education, Knomadix, Knowre, LearnBop, MathMarker, StageLearn, and Zaption. Each team will have three minutes to pitch their products to the judges, which includes an education panel and a business panel.

The panel of education leaders will then lead a question and answer session, after which they will narrow the field to seven. This panel includes East Side Union High School District Superintendent Chris Funk, Evergreen School District Superintendent Kathy Gomez, Santa Clara County Office of Education Director of Technology Programs & Instructional Support Craig Blackburn, and Ida Jew Academy Principal and edtech entrepreneur Blanca Herrera.

Next, the panel of business leaders will pose questions to the remaining candidates before deciding on the final four entrepreneurs to join the iHub. Judges on this panel include former Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen, Brocade Chairman of the Board David House, Champion Ventures Managing Member Ronnie Lott, and Menlo Ventures Managing Director Shawn T. Carolan.

The selected entrepreneurs will be matched with iHub Fellows for classroom testing, which will run from February to May 2014.

The Twitter hashtag for this event will be “#svefihub.” A live stream of the event will be available here: http://bit.ly/ihubpitchgames. More information on the iHub can be found at http://www.learninginnovationhub.com/

About Silicon Valley Education Foundation

Silicon Valley Education Foundation is a nonprofit resource and advocate for students and educators. We drive scholastic achievement in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by combining resources and partnerships to provide innovative academic programs. We are a catalyst for policy solutions in public education. Our mission is to make Silicon Valley the leader in academically prepared students. To learn more, please visit: www.svefoundation.org.

About NewSchools Venture Fund

NewSchools Venture Fund is a nonprofit venture philanthropy firm that supports entrepreneurs who are transforming K-12 public education and providing opportunities for underserved students. Since NewSchools’ founding in 1998, $248 million has been raised, and invested, in a national portfolio of early-stage ventures, including charter schools, teacher preparation programs, and educational technology companies. These investments have improved the educational outcomes for more than 15 million students. To learn more, please visit: https://www.newschools.org