Pitch Pool

Edmodo

Founders-Nic Borg and Jeff O’Hara

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Nic Borg and Jeff O’Hara founded Edmodo in 2008 in San Mateo, California.  They are an example of intrapreneurs.  Both worked within school districts as IT specialists and felt a need to disrupt the system and allow teachers and students to remain connected while in school while many schools and districts elsewhere were limiting these connections.

The key executives of Edmodo have significant experience as senior management of different education ventures and therefore Edmodo is under solid leadership moving forward.  The development team behind Edmodo are all or were once teachers.  This is a key for Edmodo to connect to educators.  Anyone who is part of the Edmodo team is able to answer questions from educators as many if not all have been in the classroom.  This is important for the development of Edmodo as a viable product that will enhance learning from a teacher’s perspective.

Edmodo is Learning Management System (LMS) that connects students and teachers in a safe environment.  It is designed to be familiar to students as the platform is very similar to Facebook and therefore is easy to use for both students and teachers. Edmodo allows teachers to share and post documents, connect to other educators, host class discussions, reward students with badges as well as allowing students to use different apps for learning.  It is meant to engage students in an online learning environment.

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Pitch Pool

DOT by KOGETO – pitch analysis

DOT_red_drop_mediumPRODUCT INTRODUCTION:

In this December 2011 episode of “Elevator Pitch,” host Alan Meckler talks with Kogeto founder and CEO Jeff Glasse about the Dot, his company’s panoramic video iPhone attachment, which was built with funding from Kickstarter. KOGETO brings DOT,  360º video to iPhone , featured in Apple store, raised a $100K on Kickstarter. The Dot is a revolutionary attachment for the iPhone that, together with Kogeto’s free Looker app, allows users to capture immersive panoramic video and share it with friends via Facebook, Twitter, email to a friend, and host on the proprietary kogeto.com.

PITCH ANALYSIS:

The founder and CEO Jeff Glasse, a stand-up comedian, did a good pitch start with the nutshell intro of DOT,  360º video to iPhone attachment. Capturing and sharing the 360º panoramic video dotspots is quite easy. Dot is not an expensive attachment, ranging from $39-$49, depending on the colour and the model of the iPhone (4, 4S, or 5). The use of Dot is limitless in all situations, and perhaps would be a real estate’s agent’s dream for getting up full panoramic videos of their property listings, great way to give virtual tours, or capture crowds and performers at a concert, to give just a few examples. Once you’ve recorded some dotspots, you can share them directly to Twitter, Facebook, and Kogeto’s own website, making it fun and easy to share your videos with friends. Looker also has some basic video trimming and flipping options, for polishing your video a bit before sharing.

The pitch emphasizes a variety of strengths of the product and its support logistics (site, attachments, software app, additions, web store, panoramic video eco-system) is well designed and promising, so based on the press coverage (http://www.kogeto.com/press_page.php) and market presence, the project is in demand on the high-tech market and have a future.

  • The CEO , Jeff Glasse appear credible, capable and confident to seriously succeed in this venture.
  • Their success on Kickstarter tells that public (market) recognized the value of the product.
  • Venture Concept is original and feasible. They already done their homework (over $1.5M on Kickstarter)!  The “DOT”story is quite credible and compelling.
  • Marketability is significant and realistic opportunity space and market size is huge, for now limited to iPhones, and it brings huge market share and revenue selling DOT and related products. Competitive edge is theirs, no big competitors!
  • Venture Plan:
    • Market Readiness: the proposed path to success is quite realistic, they’re half-way there.
    • Exit Strategy:  the funder and CEO really knows what success is and has a clear destination.
    • Investor Affinity: The risk is quite minimal for this proposition, they share success of iPhones on the market?   I like the strategy of this CEO and his plan, so adding more than money would ensure even bigger success, e.g. covering the success?

Below are the Dot venture highlights:

  1. Pain Point: people like taking videos, and the huge market needs good panoramic video app for Apple iPhones
  2. Solution: DOT,  by KOGENT, 360º video to iPhone attachment;
  3. Differentiation: almost no quality alternatives on the market;
  4. Marketing: website based, through Apple store, Kickstarter, advertised in retail stores, etc.
  5. Championship: well organized venture with experienced leader and advisors that believe in quality products;
  6. Competition: almost no competitors and Apple is a significant partner;
  7. The Ask: Already raised $100K from Kickstarter, $3M required for the next step; they’re already half-way through.
  8. The Return: Not communicated, though imho, this is successful venture, and the investors will be well recompensed.

Potential Weaknesses and Opportunities:

  1. The video is grainy, blurry and optically distorted, warped, pixelated; consider making higher quality lenses,
  2. Protrusion of DOT lense, makes the product fragile and cumbersome,
  3. The Dot cannot be used with cover, design cover embedded DOT for iPhone and other smartphones,
  4. Only the Apple smartphones (iPhone 4, 4S, and 5) are covered by the product, other platform opportunities exist
  5. Work on developing DOT for wide industry application and solutions
  6. Design the Dot for the other main smartphone families (Android, Symbian,Windows Phone, etc
  7. Increase the Looker app recording limit (now up to 8 minutes of video)

YES, I would definitely invest in this venture!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDVKz_HDktI&index=15&list=PLE1052C9B5D016F19[/youtube]

Milorad

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Pitch Pool

ReadWithMe

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9FGE7H4edM[/youtube]Yes, I would invest in this venture called ReadWithMe. This app is one of the easiest, most customizable assessment platform for monitoring oral reading progress on any web device.

Description: ReadWithMe is a mobile application developed by teachers that makes student reading fluency assessments easier to administer.  New reading assessments are easy to launch and can be customized according to the teachers need. Reports can be shared with other teacher and parents via e-mail. When using with the IPad, student reading can also be recorded which can offer a great opportunity to give feedback to students and moreover teacher can play them later to complete the evaluation.

The ReadWithMe app allows teachers to administer reading assessment of a single student or to monitor entire classroom.  It is a customizable platform that allows teachers to add their own passages. Furthermore this app has a huge library of passages which are grade level appropriate ranked by Lexile score and comes with comprehension questions with every passage. Grade level benchmark are levelled according to the national fluency norms which makes easier to see and support to students who need intervention.

Students love to use this app as it uses a touch technology and gives them a freedom to record their own reading. Many find the process of recording themselves to be intrinsically appealing, and some enjoy comparing “then” and “now” recordings to document their own progress.

Additional Features:

  • This app allows either online or offline use, and can be used with one or two Ipads.
  • Teacher can use this App on any web device using one or two paired devices.
  • Fast and accurate calculations of words per minute read, number of errors
  • Audio recordings of student performance in its offline mode, and video recordings in the online mode.
  • Bundled assessments for quick administration

 Affordable:  The cost of this app is$4.99 which allows users free access to the online site, and together they form a powerful tool for assessing young readers.

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Pitch Pool

Pilot Critique #2: EverNote

Yes, I would invest in this venture, as Evernote seemed to have a fit within the current App market and of direct use to a vast client base.

This venture is a product and service, seeking to serve as a one-stop-shop for storage and catologue of an individual or business’ notes, important information etc. in the form of images, text, and audio and can be accessed from multiple devices.

This pitcher highlights the product’s ability to catalogue your info for easy access and searchability, unlimited storage (at a fee), compatibility with multiple operating systems and cloud-like features to be accessed from all of your devices.

The pitch did not specify how consumers would be sought after, I am just assuming through something like an APP store. This would need to be expanded upon for sure, as accessing your consumer base is crucial to running a viable business. As well, there was not specific details regarding whether a pilot has been conducted, or a consumer poll to test interest.

The pitch as completed by the CEO, who provided significant detail, exuded confidence and product knowledge, and he explained the product -scheme if you will, the two different products (ie. the free product and then the priced product), how they are different and of course the benefit of the priced product.

What attracted me to this pitch was how the CEO was able to relate to my needs, as soon as he described the product, what it did and how it fit into our lives in and amongst all of our other technologies I could see how it is useful, how it provided continuity when we are dealing with such varieties of technology.

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Pitch Pool

Pilot Critique: Mentoring Me

No I would not invest in this venture, as I found the pitch to lack the information required to ensure credibility of the project, as well as the actual workings of the MentoringMe program.

MentoringMe attempts to fill the gap of on-going/continuing learning for teachers, specifically highlighting the need for ed tech training for older generation teachers who have either been slow to adopt of non-adopting of new technologies for learning. This gap would be filled through one-on-one mentoring by experienced teachers for inexperienced teachers via an online platform.

The service being provided is an online hosting site that allows individuals to create profiles, link with other teachers who require training in a specific field and from there, the learning begins (opportunity to foster reciprocal learning transactions).

This service provides training for teachers outside of their current physical district, allowing for diverse experiences (opportunity to explore personal interest or expand their knowledge base even when such learning is not available within their own school district), it provides an asynchronous platform accessible to individual needs, and it has the opportunity to harbor a vast pool of individuals with diverse and complex expertise.

In terms of marketing, there was very limited information in regards to how this product/service is to be marketed and how they intend on reaching this vast pool of experts/teachers/learners. This is problematic because the pool of individuals is required to have this venture be successful. There was also no information regarding cost, such as operational funding requirements, cost to the customer, etc.

There is a real lack of information regarding the credibility of the individuals who are pitching, what kind of knowledge, market research or need has been identified and where was it identified? There is also a lack of information regarding the pilot project, who participated (in terms of their credibility and how it is contributing to their workplace etc), what kind of time period and examples of success.

In looking at this overall pitch, there was a lot of questions that remain unanswered as to the overall validity and function of the services that are the foundation of this venture and therefore I would not support this pitch. I also think that in looking at current platforms that exist, blogs, chat rooms, social and professional networking sites, this service may already exist and be free (ie. MOOC’s).

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Pitch Pool

IScuela – An Innovative Tablet Project

I thought this was a fantastic project started and crowdsourcing their funds on Kickstarter. Here is the little bio regarding the project:

“Affordable high quality education delivered in a systematic & engaging manner, for school going children on tablets.” Iscuela Website

“The first truly engaging and interactive learning platform for school children in K-12 segment. iScuela stands for, an interactive (i) school or a college (Scuela).”

How did iScuela came into being?

iScuela was born to deliver high quality education at affordable price to school going children. We started our journey 3 years ago in India where we found that many smaller towns and rural areas don’t have infrastructure or even teachers to educate the children. We thought of building a product where we felt that if we cant bring the teachers to the students, maybe we can bring education to them using technology. Ever since we have been focusing on building a level playing field for children across the globe.

iScuela North America

After all the experience we have collected, we would now like to build a product using the latest technology for K-12 students.

Education system in North America has its own challenges. We aim to address the following with iScuela:

Unequal Access to Education

Due to the ever rising cost to obtain quality education, we want to build affordable platform that provides high quality education to all.

High School Dropouts

Major reason for the high drop out rate in schools is lack of interest and poor performance at school. iScuela aims to make learning engaging and fun which will aid the child to learn better at their own pace. Hence, improvement at school level.

Low levels of understanding and more rote learning

Children are resorting to rote learning instead of understanding the concepts being taught. Just memorizing content will not stay with the children for long and this will pose significant challenges in their career as their fundamentals would not be clear. iScuela aims to provide an environment which enables the child to understand and relate to the content matter.

My personal review:

What truly is unique about this project is that it got my attention right away (YES, I WOULD INVEST IN THIS VENTURE), from the design perspective and simplicity and stunning visual graphics. No speech required, the product sells itself, by watching the video, I guaranteed you will want to see more of this. The truth is great educational products like these are usually the results of great graphic designers, product engineers, and web programmers. Let’s give it a hand to them! I will definitely purchase the platform, however they need help delivering it to a North American market. If I had money to spare, I would invest guaranteed! (That is another issue regarding being a poor student!)

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Pitch Pool

Empowered Learning Pitch Analysis

NO, I would not invest in this venture.

Based on the short pitch I would not invest in this venture. Here is a short summary of what I found in the pitch, broken down into categories discussed in this week’s course content and readings:

Empowering Learning

The pitch provides a pain point that does truly exist, providing students with adequate support, decreasing teacher workloads and improving parent communication but the solution is not unique enough. For example, I am currently using the LMS Desire2Learn and most of the issues he exposes in his pitch I can address very simply within the LMS. My math courses have built in self-assessments that are automatically marked and help fine tune students skills. The results of the assessments and progress in the course can easily be viewed by parents when they are set up with an auditor account.

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Pitch Pool

Finance For Life Pitch Analysis

NO, I would not invest in this venture.

Based on the short pitch I would not invest in this venture. Here is a short summary of what I found in the pitch, broken down into categories discussed in this week’s course content and readings:

Finance for life

As you can see a number of key areas were not addressed in the pitch. Furthermore, it is unclear if the perceived pain point is shared among others or if it is a pain point perceived solely by the product developer. The pitch would be stronger if he addressed ideas such as increased student motivation and performance rather than filling apparent gaps in the curriculum.

I was also confused by his description of the product as a learning management system that covers business, finance and economics. The term learning management system invokes something along the lines of Blackboard, a tool used to deliver and support courses. It is unclear if the product is a packaged course or something else.

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522 Feedback, Analyst Reports (A1), Emerging Markets, Founders Parade, General, Market Projections, Pitch Pool, Venture Forum (A3)

Gartner: 2013 Top Ten Strategic Technologies

Gartner Inc. provides a glimpse into the future. Their report focuses on the next top 10 technologies that have either grown into game changing technology or have the potential to grow into one.

This review will focus on the technologies I feel will have the largest impact education. I have merged some of the top 10 technologies, as I feel they are directly related.

Change: Microsoft is being attacked on two fronts; mobile devices are becoming more popular than PCs and Microsoft only has 20% of the mobile market.

Impact on Education: Every school that has the adequate budget currently has either an Apple computer or PC located in classrooms or libraries. With a shift towards mobile devices will the need for a full labs still be needed? A school that advocated BYOT (Bring your own technology) could potential reduce its need for dedicated computer labs. Apps like Socrative are making mobile devices a viable educational tool.

Change: The storage of information and to a certain degree the running of apps is moving from the traditional PC to the cloud.  People are now expecting access to their information 24/7 regardless of their location (of course Internet needed)

Impact on Education: Traditionally students have been limited to their access to school material and learning programs to a physical building. As the capability of clouds services increases, the opportunity to move educational resources to the cloud will only increase.

In addition, as cloud services get more efficient, the memory capabilities of PCs or handhelds will become less relevant, whereas the need for larger Internet bandwidth will increase. Schools will potentially move away from investing in labs and servers and move towards providing larger Internet bandwidth.

Future Reports:

Gartner Inc. delivers a concise and simple list of potential future technologies. This is an invaluable resource to keep on top of new emerging technologies that could potentially affect education.

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Pitch Pool

Knowillage

“Here, at Knowillage, we developed artificial intelligence e-learning technology
which greatly accelerates students learning and helps them maximize their academic performance.”

[youtube]http://youtu.be/mIqS2gwZnoQ/youtube[/youtube]

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