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Http://www.kaplanedtechaccelerator.com/ (Graphic: Business Wire)

The Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by Techstars, graduated its inaugural class of 10 startup companies today in a presentation to an exclusive audience of angel and venture investors and education industry influencers. The Accelerator’s “Demo Day” event took place this morning at The IAC Building in New York City.

This is Techstars’ first education-focused accelerator and the first such initiative sponsored by Kaplan, Inc., the global education company known for its test prep, higher education, and professional training programs and services.

The 10 startups—chosen in June from more than 350 applicants—worked over the past three months at Kaplan’s New York City offices, in an intensive business development program, mentored by a select group of more than 80 Kaplan executives and technology experts. Their startup businesses address challenges across the broad spectrum of education, including K-12, higher education, professional education, lifelong learning, and career and work readiness.

“Education will change more in the next decade than it has in the past hundred years and we’re very excited to have helped nurture these 10 companies who are at the vanguard of this transformation,” said Andrew Rosen, Kaplan Inc. Chairman and CEO. “The last three months have been instructive for these entrepreneurs aiming to solve the great challenges facing educators and students today. The experience has been equally instructive for our own teams in sharing the ‘startup’ mindset that is so important to every company’s continued growth and success. All of us were startups at one time and it is important to always keep that energy and vision as part of the company culture.”

The companies presenting today are:

  • Degreed (San Francisco, CA): “jailbreaks the degree” by helping students and professionals fully track all their academic, professional, and lifelong learning accomplishments; organizations can also track the full range of formal and experiential knowledge their employees bring to their work roles.
  • Flinja (San Francisco, CA): a platform for students to build skills and gain relevant work experience by completing projects for startups and big companies alike, and for employers to test out qualified talent at a fraction of the cost and time (and headaches) they would normally encounter.
  • Mathify (Pittsburgh, PA): is reinventing the digital textbook by transforming traditional math problems into highly interactive activities and games; it optimizes digital instruction to maximize learning and student engagement.
  • MentorMob (Chicago, IL): communities of informal learners that save students time by helping them map out the best online learning resources for the skills and knowledge they wish to master.
  • Modern Guild (New York, NY): provides online career guidance and mentoring for students, so that they can jumpstart their career readiness, beginning in high school and through college.
  • Newsela (New York, NY): provides an innovative way for students, at different grade and skill levels, to build reading comprehension with nonfiction that’s always relevant: daily news.
  • PanOpen (New York, NY): provides colleges and universities with the tools and services required to successfully adopt open educational resources (OERs).
  • Ranku (New York, NY): a discovery engine for 100% online degrees offered by traditional universities like Georgetown and Arizona State University.
  • Uvize (Boulder, CO): a service to help military veterans succeed at college academics.
  • Verificient Technologies (New York, NY): provides continuous identify verification solutions at scale for online test takers.

Each start-up company has already been successful in raising some of the total funds they hope to gain from their introduction to investors today during “Demo Day.” In addition, Kaplan’s own education businesses have separately agreed to partner with some of the start-ups on new initiatives, including a pilot by Kaplan Test Prep’s Health unit to use Verificient Technologies’ ProctorTrack to monitor 60,000 NCLEX practice test takers and a pilot to make Uvize’s community product available to 2,000 Kaplan University students who are active-duty military or veterans.

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