Kauffman Labs Inaugural Incubator Program Brings In Education-Focused Entrepreneurs from Massachusetts, Michigan, and Bay Area

2/10/11Follow @xconomy

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developed a game called Vmerse for recruiting prospective college students by simulating the feel of a particular campus. “In many ways Vmerse was a business to business model,” Prakash says. The Kauffman program could help he and Tarasev (a former Vmerse intern) adjust the vision to market learning games directly to the consumer.

—Entrepreneur Christian Spielvogel of Kalamazoo, MI, says his team is incorporating social games into the textbook world. As students complete a chapter in a history textbook, for example, they can play an online social game, adapting an avatar representative of a certain person or group from that period in history, and role-playing historical events. Spielvogel’s first title, called America at War, focuses on the civil war, and is aimed at high school and college students. Spielvogel and his other team members (Kalamazoo-based Laura Spielvogel and University Park, PA-based Khusro Kidwai) are all PhDs and not experienced entrepreneurs, so Christians says they’re looking to the Education Ventures Program to understand how to scale the business.

Massachusetts

—Cambridge, MA-based Niko Ralf Cunningham isn’t waiting for his education-focused website to be found via a search engine, but is taking the direct sales approach of selling to parents “right in their living rooms.” He’s developing a subscription-based site to help connect kids with college groups that could foster their afterschool interests and passions. “Were’ hoping to hit the sweet spot that educational technology misses by hoping people will find them on Google,” he says.

—Jill Frankfort and Kenneth Salim of Boston are developing technology to help better ensure students successfully complete college, according to the Kauffman announcement.

—Brookline, MA-based Igor Khayet is building on his college admissions and consulting background to launch a service for coaching students and young professionals for college and job interviews.

—Melissa Pickering of Medford, MA, is the majority owner of iCreate to Educate, a company spun out of Tufts University to help get new educational technologies being developed at the research level into classrooms. (She’s also the entrepreneur who alerted me to the Education Ventures Program.) The company is using animation software developed at Tufts to help supplement science education in the classroom. Pickering says she’s looking to take the time at Educations Ventures to explore the data the company has picked up on its product, and figure out “how can we make a sustainable business and how can we make it scale.”

San Francisco

—Matt Garmur of Oakland, CA, and Jason Young of San Francisco are targeting financial literacy education, with Web- and mobile-based social games and incentives. The website for the game, Zindagi, describes the product as … Next Page »

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