simia: reinvent the virtual classroom

Schools around the world have switched to online platforms, but none of these platforms were designed for use in schools. The result is a clunky mode of delivery that makes it difficult to develop that classroom connection. For teachers, building that understanding of students and their progress is even more difficult. Many students feel isolated.

The solution? simia. An education-specific, secure, remote video communication platform that uses AI and data analytics to understand, predict and personalize teaching and learning.

View the venture pitch here.

( Average Rating: 4 )

15 responses to “simia: reinvent the virtual classroom”

  1. julio palacios

    REVIEW: You did a great job in selecting the right images, stock footage and music for your pitch. Those alone were enough to captivate me. With that said, I really think your pitch could have benefited from some narration. Having a welcoming and enthusiastic voice to associate with the idea would go a long way in presenting your perspective.

    Your venture pitch did a great job in showcasing the rationale behind your venture idea. It sets the stage of our modern learning environment and showcases key players like Zoom and the shortfalls they have in supporting online educational learning environments. Your design throughout your pitch is great. I really like how you use your slide like a canvas and how you placed your information in key positions.

    I did notice some broken links to images in your competitors page. Also, I would have liked to see some acknowledgment on this page to LMS based online conferencing tools like Blackboard Collaborate and Big Blue Button and a showcase of Simia’s competitive edge over them. Your revenue model, timeline and ask all seem to be well articulated and well researched.

    I would consider investing in this venture once more information is made available as to how AI and data analysis will be used to personalize student needs and help teachers personalize instruction.

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    1. Jessica Daicos

      Thanks for your well-considered review, Julio.

      I don’t disagree at all about the narration. However, I made a strategic decision not to include it as I did not think I would be putting my best foot forward (in the middle of a move and starting a new job, so my voice is neither welcoming nor enthusiastic at the moment). In high stakes, I would not launch a venture at this time and would definitely involve myself more as a public figure.

      I don’t quite understand what you mean about broken links to images? I didn’t consider LMS-based online conference tools, and they didn’t surface during my research, so thank you for bringing that up.

      I am curious where the place is in a venture pitch for detailed information about how the product would work. It is another thing I contemplated and went the other way on. I felt like that was perhaps more of a sell to customers rather than investors or that it would fall under a business proposal or follow-up? I am unsure, but you make a good point that perhaps it is necessary for my credibility!

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  2. Michael Saretzky

    I really enjoyed the elevator pitch, it had a good balance of information and images. As I watched it I couldn’t help but think of all of the issues with Google Meets as I use it with my grade 8s. You provide some great, intriguing data for the investor to ponder. Seeing the need for this I could definitely see myself investing.

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    1. Jessica Daicos

      Thanks for your kind review, Michael. I’m glad it came across as something that you would be interested in using! I agree, it seems that teachers are barely getting by with using Google Meet and Zoom to replicate their classroom… and then my next question is why are we using technology to replicate a classroom when there could be so many added benefits to using a tech platform? Do check out Class for Zoom because it seems like a good step in the right direction for online classrooms.

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  3. Alice Shin

    Hi, Jessica!

    This is a high quality idea for a venture and I enjoyed going through both pitches. Here’s my review:

    Elevator Pitch
    – Great job on this – highly relevant to the entire education sector, an easy to grasp solution that addresses an obvious need in the educational marketplace
    – Fresh, engaging, professional design and I liked your use of media
    – Clear presentation of the venture that is well-organized, simple and easy to follow

    Venture Pitch
    – You hit all the relevant points an investor would want to know about – like market insights, revenue model and a clear ask – and just didn’t start and end with the product description and rationale
    – Great overall look and branding of an original venture

    What could be improved? I’ve been wondering how important it is to see and hear from the founder directly in pitches like this, and while I would have liked to see you in there somewhere to attach the project to a person, having the merits of the business speak for itself maintains a professional edge. Your use of music, media made it engaging without needing to connect to a person – at least for me – at this round of raising funds. So I’ll leave that as a toss up!

    Questions: what was the inspiration for the name and logo? I’m taking it this is a fictitious company or are you going to launch this or a variation of it?

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    1. Jessica Daicos

      Hi Alice! I appreciate the time you took to consider and write such a thorough review.

      I have been wondering the same thing about hearing from the founder. There’s a part of me that does want to stay as impartial and “scientific” and let the product speak for itself. I also don’t particularly like being ‘in’ things. However, I do agree with Julio that I think at this stage it’s important for investors to know who you’re giving money to (it’s also in the rubric). I really like how Emily Chen did hers for Adventure ABC. However, I am running low on resources as a human being at the moment and my choice was due to the fact that I thought that my presence would hurt my pitch. In an ideal world, I would have waited until some dust settled and I could present a refreshed and passionate face/voice to the venture.

      To answer your final questions, ‘simia’ means ‘monkey’ in Latin. I thought a monkey was a great symbol for this venture because they’re intelligent and cheeky with human characteristics. I also thought it was just kind of a cool name (and doesn’t seem to be taken). It’s just a fictitious company for the purpose of this assignment, I’m not planning on launching it.

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  4. raafa abdulla

    Thank you very much Jessica for sharing this idea with us. As a teacher, as you said, we need an app that is designed for online classroom. I am currently brainstorm some ideas with my students just in case we return to the online learning again. what you are offering is what my students is looking for in the remote learning.
    I liked your elevator pitch were you outlined the market value of Zoom, the current problem and your suggested solutions. However, it would be nice to include how your app will maintain the privacy. Also, what are the app features that will personalize students’ learning.
    For the venture pitch, it was complete, consistent and concise. The research was well done and very accurate to current situation. The only improvement that I would suggest is to include the benefits of investing $400,000 (in another word, what are you offering to investors in return).
    I would want to know more information about the personalized-learning feature and how the app is going to maintain the privacy before suggesting it to David (our billionaire investor haha)!

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  5. Vijaya Jammi

    Hi Jessica,
    Your elevator pitch is well composed. You kept it short, simple and direct which is always welcome in a pitch. The pain point and the solution you intend to offer are clearly stated. I like the way you laid out the information on your venture pitch too. Concise and clear. Although it was mostly textual, the black and white contrast and variation in font size worked well to draw attention where needed. The flow of content was good, and the business model description in particular appeared to be realistic and well researched.

    However, the highlights of the market value of Zoom, MS Teams Google Meet at the beginning of the elevator pitch gave an idea that Simia is mainly a video conferencing tool.
    But, the concept of Simia as detailed in the venture pitch gives the idea that it works something like an LMS video conferencing integration. A little more clarity at the beginning, on what Simia is about, could have helped the focus of the pitch. Secondly, it was about differentiation. As Julio stated above, adding more clarity on what makes Simia different from competitors would have helped to understand Simia better.

    Over all, both the pitches were well composed and presented. Good work!

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  6. EmilyChen

    Hi Jessica, your venture pitch is very well designed in a way that is eye-catching and captivating. I enjoyed your use of infographics to show research data. I agree with you that having a platform designed specifically for the use of teaching classes is much better than using meeting APPs like Zoom. You are addressing a very real problem, and you’ve spot a good gap in the market!

    As I was going through your venture pitch, I wondered what kinds of functions would this platform have that Zoom doesn’t have? I think it would be a good idea to add a products page in to explain further into that, since you emphasized a lot on it being developed for the specific needs of the classroom. For example, will it have some online space for storing teaching material that can easily be access from the platform? Or a better designed interactive whiteboard that can show which student is writing?

    Thanks for sharing!

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  7. adrian wheeler


    This is quite an interesting project. For me, the high point was the elevator pitch. It was engaging, well edited, and easy to follow. Overall very well done. The venture pitch was well designed, very attractive and easy to read. Unfortunately, I see a couple of issues with the core concept that would keep me from “investing”. First and foremost you suggest the videoconferencing platform has “end-to-end, no knowledge encryption” but somehow also AI based data analytics… you can’t have both. End-to-end encryption means only the sender and receiver have decryption keys. If this is the case you can’t feed the data into an AI based analytics algorithm. Furthermore, you suggest that your platform is more secure than Zoom, however Zoom does offer end-to-end encryption and FIPPA compliant videoconferencing to educational institutions. “Zoom bombing” is only really a concern if you don’t use a password for your personal Zoom meetings. It isn’t possible on corporate accounts with the proper security settings (though I understand many schools didn’t purchase the correct license in back in March). Finally, and this is more of a nit pick pick, but I noticed most of the stock images you used in your venture pitch have “canva” watermarks on them. I would recommend either using original content, or creative commons licensed images for a more professional look.

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    1. adrian wheeler

      I would like to add a little more context to my above feedback (as I re-read it, it comes across a little strong). I do think the idea is a great one and I can totally understand the attraction of “having you cake and eating it to” when it comes to data security/privacy vs data analytics/convenience. However it just isn’t possible to have end-to-end encryption AND AI based analytics. You could however have a softer form of encryption where the data is encrypted to and from your server, but decrypted there to allow for those AI analytics. Unfortunately, this means your customers will need a fair amount of corporate trust and a willingness to hand you all of the data (which as you have pointed out, a tough sell). I do think there is still a market opportunity for a classroomcentric VC system that incorporates AI, however it will be a tough sell to Governments and parent groups as it will require access to and the analysis of, a LOT of user data.

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      1. Jessica Daicos

        Hi Adrian,

        I appreciate your expert review on the technology aspect and you pointed out probably my major flaw… that I have no idea how this technology would work. Realistically, if this was something I wanted to run with, I would be more of a project manager pulling together a skilled team. This was the idea behind trying to partner with a company that’s already developed a secure platform. I know little about security and tried to find out what that might be, but obviously missed the mark a bit. Your suggestion for a different type of security is excellent (I should have reached out to you before!) The main idea behind the security was because of your last point about data collection. I’d assumed if I could build a more secure/trustworthy platform it would be more possible to get buy-in from data sceptics. Zoom has improved their security, but they also lied about their security just before this… so I still don’t see them as being particularly trustworthy.

        Thanks for pointing out about the watermarks. When I was building the pitch deck the icons were so small I didn’t think the watermarks would be visible. Unfortunately, when I post it as a presentation it goes full screen and this changes things. Everything apart from the icons were creative commons. I just didn’t think the icons would be big enough to see and didn’t check… I will note this for future!

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  8. RyanSilverthorne

    Dear Jessica,

    I think your elevator pitch was extremely well done. While voice can sometimes help I don’t actually see it adding to what you already have. The points you make about the limitations of Zoom and the needs in the educational community are communicated very clearly. The music chosen was not distracting in any way and fit nicely with the slick visuals and messaging. If the goal was to bring them in to learn more I think that was well accomplished.

    There were multiple things to like in the Venture pitch:

    – Extremely concise and clear
    – The company name, logo and slogan are extremely well designed and thought out (I’m curious what program you used for this as it is impressive)
    – The information regarding how revenue will be collected was a great decision
    – Very valid points made about the competition
    – You point out how important the K-12 market is, yet is not completely fulfilled by the current ed tech in this area
    – Your market focus is very clear

    While the pitch is very concise and you point out flaws in other platforms I think a little more information about the unique features that will set Simia apart would help. I also think more information about the company/staff behind you would be beneficial (your bio is in there but having key staff members with experience in other high-end Ed Tech ventures would improve confidence in the product).

    Overall I would say it is an excellent pitch that would certainly appeal to investors and educators.

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    1. Jessica Daicos

      Hi Ryan,

      Thanks for your feedback! I am pleased you have such positive things to say. I totally agree about the bio. I wasn’t sure what to do, as this is a fictional venture and I have no tech expertise in this area (invent a fictional team? Perhaps.)

      To answer your questions about design software, I just made it up the logo and visuals in Canva (text with a stock image… as Adrian pointed out, I forgot to remove the watermark from the stock image). When I did my elevator pitch in Adobe Spark, I screenshotted the logo from my pitch deck in Canva and imported it as a brand. Adobe does the rest of the watermaking and closing brand slide.

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  9. ryan valley

    Hi Jessica, great work! I can tell that you spent a great deal of time putting together this excellent elevator and venture pitch. The one piece of feedback I would have would be it would have been great to learn a bit more about how Simia differentiates itself from the competition and what that vision looks like in action! Very exciting and well done, great job Jessica.

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