Ed Tech Companies Vie for Honors at Software Industry Forum

Associate Editor

Entrepreneurs who run 10 ed tech companies will be in the spotlight tomorrow at the annual Software and Information Industry Association Education Division’s Education Business Forum in New York City.

The finalists in the SIIA Innovation Incubator Program will showcase their products to industry leaders, potential investors, and partners at a meeting in the McGraw Hill Conference Center. Forum attendees will vote for “Most Likely to Succeed” and “Most Innovative” of the companies.

Since 2006, the program has identified promising businesses and supported them in their efforts to improve education through the use of software, digital content, and related technologies, according to a release from the organization. The program is open to applicants from academic and non-profit institutions, pre-revenue and early-stage companies, as well as established companies with newly developed technologies.

Criteria in the selection included the market need for the innovation, including its education focus and end user impact; its representation in either K-12 or postsecondary markets, and the level of originality and innovation it represented.

Innovation Incubator Program participants this year are:

  • eProf, an e-commerce platform offering education businesses a turnkey solution for taking their businesses online;
  • InstaEDU, which connects students with tutors online immediately;
  • Leading Edge Certification, a national certification program in educational technology and curriculum innovation created by an alliance of nonprofits, universities and educational agencies;
  • LightSail, an adaptive, tablet-based literacy platform for grades K-12;
  • Nervanix uses brainwave monitoring technology to determine whether—and to what extent—a student is paying attention, and then uses that data to inform instruction in class or online;
  • Net Texts allows educators to use and customize open educational resources, copyrighted information, and their own material to create virtual courses that can supplement or replace textbooks;
  • Portfoliyo provides a texting tool for teachers to reach out to parents with quick communications;
  • Robots4Autism, a humanoid robot that delivers research-based interventions and curriculum for children with autism to provide nonthreatening interaction and consistent lesson delivery;
  • Shindig allows remote participation for students, professors, parents and administrators with a computer and internet access so, for instance, a speaker can address an audience of thousands; and,
  • TeacherMatch created a platform with a new hiring assessment designed to identify the top candidates for any teaching position.

Selected as an alternate for the program was BiblioNasium, a social network that promotes literacy and supports independent reading activities for kids six to 13 years old.

Last year, Clever, a company that helps schools streamline the integration of educational technology and student data, won both “most innovative” and “most likely to succeed,” a rare development, said Karen Billings, vice president of SIIA’s education division.

Billings reported that most of the “innovation incubator” companies that have been identified since the organization started the program seven years ago are still in business.

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