Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition and Conference

Explore by Year

A record of success

Like any successful startup, the Competition has grown and evolved over time, but year after year we have brought together the best and brightest with in the burgeoning field of education entrepreneurship. Want to learn more about our evolution?”

 


2016

Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

$140,000 in Prizes Awarded to Early-Stage Education Entrepreneurs

The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) and the Milken Family Foundation announced the winners of the sixth annual Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC) today. A new way for colleges to engage with their alumni, apps for helping students and adults read and communicate, and a marketplace for afterschool programs.

As the largest competition of its kind, the EBPC features multiple cash prizes totaling $140,000, and awards prizes in two categories – one aimed at Idea-stage companies that are just getting started and Ventures, which already have revenues, grants, customers, or investments. Finalists may also be invited to join the Fall 2016 cohort of The Education Design Studio Inc. (EDSi), a hybrid incubator and seed fund built specifically for education ventures that was launched in collaboration with Penn GSE in 2013. Today’s winners include:

Venture Path

Milken Family Foundation Grand Prize: $40,000

  • Tassl LLC, of Philadelphia, an alumni engagement technology solution that helps universities and their alumni groups engage with graduates in more meaningful ways outside of donations, in order create a stronger culture and more meaningful relationships within their alumni network.

ACT Prize: $20,000

  • Pivot Interactive, SBC, of Afton, Minn., which develops interactive resources for science learning, including both Direct Measurement Videos and Pivot Player.

American Public University System Prize: $20,000

  • Tassl LLC

ChanceLight Behavioral Health and Education Prize: $10,000 each

  • Communication APPtitute, of Towson, Md., an educational technology company filling a void in the literacy market by creating two unique, visual methods for teaching vocabulary and semantic skills, not only for students who struggle with learning, but for all students who need to understand nuanced word meanings.
  • OgStar Reading LLC, of Owings Mills, Md., an that app provides a self-correcting, multisensory reading game for dyslexic students, English Language learners, and those with limited language exposure using the well-respected Orton-Gillingham approach. 

McGraw-Hill Education Prize: $20,000

  • Caseworx, of Long Beach, Cal., which takes case study learning off the page, into a video-based, interactive collaboration space for all types of learners.

Voter's Choice Prize: $1,000

  • TalkingPoints, of San Francisco, a multi-lingual texting platform that educators use to communicate with families via text messages with automatic translation.

Idea Path

Milken Family Foundation Grand Prize: $10,000

  • Torus Teens, of New York, a marketplace that connects teens with afterschool and summer programs so they can explore interests and develop skills outside of formal schooling. Torus Teens was also awarded a Microsoft Surface.

Four additional Idea Prizes: $2,000 each

  • URead, of Rydal, Pa., a mobile app designed to help adults reading at the 4th grade level equivalent and above improve their reading skills.
  • Toolbox for Teachers, of Philadelphia, a series of workshops and resources designed to promote educator resiliency and trauma sensitivity in urban and low-income schools.
  • Mindright, of Palo Alto, Cal., a mobile app and data platform service that helps youth overcome the impacts of trauma and empowers schools to meet students’ needs arising from trauma.
  • Kids Code, of Charlottesville, Va., — created by two University of Virginia undergraduates — this interactive board game teaches children to think like a computer programmer and practice programming skills, even without prior coding experience.

Voter's Choice Prize: $1,000

  • Kids Code

The EBPC has earned a name for itself by attracting innovative ideas from around the world and spotting winning education innovations early on. Previous finalists include Raise.meApprenNet, and Degreed – all of which have gone on to grow their ventures, attract investors, and have a positive impact on education. The EBPC is made possible through the generous support of the Milken Family Foundation, ACT, American Public University System, ChanceLight Behavioral Health and Education, iTutorGroup, McGraw-Hill Education, and Microsoft Surface. Finalists are selected through crowd-sourced judging from teachers, investors, entrepreneurs, and researchers.

The Milken family – several of whom are Penn graduates – embody the Franklin spirit. Through successful educational entrepreneurship from pre-K services through college education for working adults, as well as investments in educational enterprises, they have demonstrated a commitment to the leaders of tomorrow. Over four decades of philanthropic activities, the Milken family has made innovation in education – as exemplified by the Milken Educator Awards and National Institute for Excellence in Teaching – a cornerstone of their work. Visit the Milken Family Foundationhttp://www.mff.orgto learn more.

Penn GSE is one of the nation’s premier research education schools. No other education school enjoys a university environment as supportive of practical knowledge-building as the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania. The School is notably entrepreneurial, launching innovative degree programs for practicing professionals and unique partnerships with local educators, and the first-ever business plan competition devoted exclusively to educational products, services, and programs. For further information about Penn GSE, please visit www.gse.upenn.edu/ or follow us on Twitter @PennGSE. To follow and participate in the 2016 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition, use hashtag #MilkenPennGSE. For more on the work of Innovation@Penn GSE, please visit http://www.gse.upenn.edu/innovation or follow on Twitter @GSE_innovates

2016 Finalists

 

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2015

Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

$140,000 in Prizes Awarded to Early-Stage Education Entrepreneurs

Philadelphia, PA, May 13, 2015—The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) and the Milken Family Foundation announced the winners of the sixth annual Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC) today.  Winning ideas included platforms to connect parents with teachers, apps to provide personalized lesson plans for students with special needs, and programs to keep low-income students on track to finish college. 

As the largest competition of its kind, the EBPC features multiple cash and in-kind prizes totaling $140,000. This year’s competition included a new path devoted to Idea-stage ventures as well as a competition pathway devoted to more mature, but still early stage, start-up Ventures. Prizes were awarded in both categories. All Idea and Venture Path finalists will receive access to a suite of tools through Microsoft BizSpark.  Finalists may also be invited to join the Fall 2015 cohort of The Education Design Studio Inc. (EDSi), a hybrid incubator and seed fund built specifically for education ventures that was launched in collaboration with Penn GSE in 2013.Today’s winners include:

Venture Path

Grand Prize: $40,000

  • Kinvolved
  • The Venture Path Grand Prize winner will also receive $60,000 in Azure credits.

Additional Venture Prizes: $20,000 each

  • AdapTac Games, of Darien, CT, creates behavioral health educational tools for kids as a safe and enjoyable option for skills training. The company’s first app is a research-based game to help children with ADHD. Recognized for addressing the special education marketplace.
  • Byndr, of Conshohocken, PA, is a mobile learning management system for higher education aimed at universities in emerging markets. Based on social media platforms, Byndr is currently being used by three universities in India. Recognized for addressing the Higher Education marketplace.
  • Code Monkey, of Tel Aviv, Israel, teaches students aged 9-16 to code using an engaging online game that teaches a real-world programming language. Code Monkey is currently used in half of the schools in Israel. Recognized for addressing college readiness.
  • Mosa Mack Science, of Brooklyn, NY, a platform for teaching science to middle school students. Lessons start with Mosa Mack, an interactive cartoon in which the title character models scientific thinking to solve mysteries. Mosa Mack is being used in 2,500 classrooms. Recognized for addressing gender and cultural diversity in STEM learning.

Voter’s Choice (crowd vote): $1,000

  • Mosa Mack Science

Idea Path

Grand Prize: $10,000

  • Yenko, of Brooklyn, NY, a mobile-first platform using real-time academic performance and financial data to help low-income college students stay on track for graduation.

Additional Idea Prizes: $2,000 each

  • ActualizeMe, of Philadelphia, PA, a digital platform to help high school students discover a career path.
  • Course Lab, of Wilmington, DE, an interactive syllabus creation and content sharing platform to improve college-level teaching.
  • Education Modified, of Brooklyn, NY, creates research-based portfolios that support teachers crafting personalized solutions for special needs students.
  • JournalUp, of Philadelphia, PA, an online journaling program for seventh- and eighth grade students with interactive feedback. 

Voter’s Choice (crowd vote): $1,000

  • Education Modified

2015 Finalists

 

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2014

Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

Philadelphia-based start-up Osmosis takes home two top prizes, including 1st place from the Milken Family Foundation

Philadelphia, PA, May 14, 2014 – Philadelphia-based start-up Osmosis won top prizes in the 2014 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC) today.  Education entrepreneurs from 12 early-stage start-ups competed in the final phase of the competition, which features eight prizes totaling $140,000 in funding - with Osmosis taking home both 1st prize ($25,000) from the Milken Family Foundation and the American Public University System Prize for Innovation in Online Education ($25,000).

 Additionally, all of this year’s finalists and semi-finalists have been invited to participate in the Education Design Studio, Inc. (EDSi), a Philadelphia-based $2.1 million hybrid incubator-seed fund that was launched in the fall of 2013 in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

Considered one of the most prestigious and well-funded education business plan competitions around, the EBPC has earned a name for itself by attracting innovative ideas from around the world and spotting winning education innovations early on in their growth. The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) and the Milken Family Foundation conceived of the competition to catalyze innovation in education, and the EBPC features separate prizes in categories ranging from Open Educational Resources (OER), to innovation in online education, to special education and at-risk students. It also provides an opportunity for competitors to connect with top investors and researchers in the field of educational innovation.

 The twelve competition finalists presented their projects – showcasing the best and most promising new ventures in the field – to a select panel of industry leaders on the Penn campus today. The winning entrepreneurs are:

  • The Milken Family Foundation:
    • First Prize ($25,000) -- Osmosis, Philadelphia, PA – a learning app aimed at the medical community.
    • Second Prize ($15,000) – Totus Power, San Francisco, CA – an innovative system of providing power to classrooms in India and other developing countries
  • The American Public University System Prize for Innovation in Online Education ($25,000) -- Osmosis, Philadelphia, PA
  • The Educational Services of America Prize for Innovation in the fields of Special Education and At-Risk Students ($20,000)  -- ProfessorWord, Philadelphia, PA – a service that helps students learn vocabulary in context as they read online
  • The K12 Online Learning Prize for Innovation in Technology for Grades K Through Twelve ($25,000) -- Branching Minds, New York, NY – a web-based tool that identifies learning challenges
  • The McGraw-Hill Education Prize for Open Educational Resources ($15,000) - eduCanon, Galesville, MD – an interactive video teaching platform
  • TSL Education Borderless Education Prize ($10,000) – Totus Power, San Francisco, CA
  • Halloran Philanthropies Borderless Education Social Impact Prize ($5,000) -- Ubongo, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – which creates digital content for learners in Africa

For more information go to: http://nestcentral.org. For further information about Penn GSE, please visit www.gse.upenn.edu/, or check out Facebook at MilkenPennEBPC; Twitter: NESTCentral; hashtag #MilkenPennGSE. 

The Milken Family Foundation was established by Lowell and Michael Milken in 1982 with the mission to discover and advance inventive and effective ways of helping people help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives. The Foundation advances this mission principally through the various programs it initiates and carries out in the areas of education and medical research.

Penn GSE is one of the nation’s premier research education schools. No other education school enjoys a university environment as supportive of practical knowledge-building as the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania. The School is notably entrepreneurial, launching innovative degree programs for practicing professionals and unique partnerships with local educators, and the first-ever business plan competition devoted exclusively to educational products and programs.

2014 Finalists

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2013

Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) and the Milken Family Foundation announced the winners of the 2013 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC), held on May 7-8 on the Penn campus. Raise was the big winner of the day, earning the most prize money ever at the Competition with three $25,000 prizes – the Milken Family Foundation First Prize, the Startl Prize for Open Educational Resources and the K12 Prize for Online Learning in Grades K-12. Education entrepreneurs from 10 early-stage start-ups competed in the final phase of the competition, which features seven prizes totaling $145,000 in funding. In addition to the prizes, all of this year’s Competition finalists will be invited to participate in the Education Design Studio, Inc. (EDSi), a newly-announced fund initiative created in collaboration with Penn GSE.

This year’s finalists were chosen from a total of 250 applications from 17 countries. The competition stimulates cutting-edge ideas – whether local or global, profit or non-profit, or preschool through adult learning – that serve the world’s educational needs.

The ten competition finalists presented their projects – showcasing the best and most promising new ventures in the field – to a select panel of industry leaders on the Penn campus yesterday. The winning entrepreneurs are:

Raise [formerly Raise Labs] (Preston Silverman and George Kirkland/San Francisco) won the Milken Family Foundation First Prize ($25,000), the Startl Prize for Open Educational Resources ($25,000) and the K12 Prize for Online Learning in Grades K-12 ($25,000).

Persistence Plus (Jill Frankfort and Dr. Kenny Salim/Boston) won both the Milken Family Foundation Second Prize ($15,000) as well as the American Public University System Prize for Innovation in Online Education ($25,000).

Autism Expressed (Michele McKeone/Philadelphia) garnered the Educational Services of America Prize for Innovation in the Fields of Special Education and At-Risk Students ($20,000).

BiblioNasium (Marjan Ghara and Adele Schwartz/New York) earned the Erudient Education Prize for Innovation in Borderless Education ($10,000). 

2013 Finalists

See more photos from the 2013 competition here

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2012

Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

See more photos from the 2012 competition here.

First Prize ($25,000): Toni Maraviglia (Nairobi, Kenya/registered as U.S. corporation): M-Prep Inc. creates educational materials that can be delivered through ubiquitous mobile devices, and targets populations that have little access to education.

Second Prize ($15,000): Jason W. Young and Tracy T. Moore II (Oakland, CA): Mindblown Labs uses mobile gaming to teach high school and college students about personal finance and other 21st century skills

The American Public University System Prize for Innovation in Online Education ($25,000): Saad Alam and Lee Jokl (New York, NY): Citelighter is a research platform aimed at storing, organizing and sharing education and research for free.

The Educational Services of America Prize for Innovation in the fields of Special Education and At-Risk Students ($20,000): Megan Marcus, Katerina Manoff, Bianca Figueroa Santana (Cambridge, MA): FuelEd is aimed at strengthening teacher preparation by equipping teachers with essential social and emotional competencies.

The Erudient Education Prize for Innovation in Borderless Education ($10,000): Shay Eyal (Kiriat Bialik, Israel): EyalGPS provides a unique Text To Speech mobile application for the special needs population that reads any text on a mobile screen.

The Startl Prize for Open Educational Resources ($25,000): Saad Alam and Lee Jokl (New York, NY): Citelighter

2012 Finalists

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2011

Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

The second annual Milken-PennGSE Education Business Plan Competition was held on June 9th, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Nine finalist teams presented to a panel of judges, and to seasoned educational entrepreneurs, reporters and the general public.

First prize: Alexandre Scialom won $25,000 for his company, thecoursebook, which connects lifelong learners to great online and offline learning resources. The service allows users to easily search for and find thirdparty learning resources and offers guidance to support their professional and personal development, based on interests, peers, and location. In addition to taking first place in the Milken-PennGSE competition, Scialom also won $25,000 for the Startl Prize for Open Educational Resources.

Second prize: The second place Milken-PennGSE prize of $15,000 was awarded to Judd Rattner and Edward Levie for their company, Intellidemia. Intellidemia provides an online syllabus solution that organizes, shares and analyzes course information.

2011 Winners & Finalists

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2010

Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

The first ever Milken-PennGSE Education Business Plan Competition was held on June 3rd, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Six finalist teams presented their ideas to the judging panel.

First Prize: Shaun Sims, 23, and Andrew Mills, 28, won first prize, $25,000, for Digital Proctor, which improves security in online education. Digital Proctor analyzes student behavior in online classrooms, identifies suspicious activity through keyboard usage and algorithms, detects financial-aid fraud, and helps to increase student-retention rates.

Second Prize: $15,000 was awarded to Jen Schnidman, 26, of New Orleans for Drop the Chalk, a web-based software that allows educators to track and quantify students’ academic growth by providing an overall picture of what students already know and what they still need to learn. 

The Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition aims to stimulate entrepreneurship in education and connect social entrepreneurs to venture capitalists and other funders interested in improving education.

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