Team Lighthouse won 1st prize and public favorite at Startup Weekend Seattle EDU on November 23rd. The startup went on to be selected as the winner of the Global Startup Battle Education, Empowered Track sponsored by General Assembly.
Watch the video pitch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoezOLaJrc0
Lighthouse is a smart solution for special needs students and teachers. It provides confidence students are where they are supposed to be and alerts you when they’re not.
A small device is attached to the student, uniquely identifying them to the teacher. The teacher uses the Lighthouse app to keep track of their students while they are on school grounds, during school hours. If a student wanders off or is with the wrong person, an alert is sent to their teacher. When a teacher requires assistance to bring a student back to class, they can notify all faculty with information about the student.
It was pretty late on a Friday evening of November 2013. Sam Woodard, a math teacher at the Cleveland High School in Seattle, was watching the Startup Weekend Education pitches from his seat in the University of Washington Paccar Hall Auditorium. He did not know anyone at all and was initially planning on joining a team and seeing what the event was like for his first Startup Weekend. But as he heard more and more 60 minute pitches he felt that he could present his own idea. A nudge from another teacher seated next to him was enough to get Sam to stand up and wait in line for his time to share his idea: MyWorksheets, an iPad app to capture worksheets and make it possible for students to fill them in digitally.
Sam recruited a multi disciplinary team of developers, designers and business people and they built the app that ended up winning the first prize of Startup Weekend Seattle EDU 2013. Using the prizes that they won, the team ended up pushing the project further with a video for the Global Startup Battle and the winning pitch for the Northwest battle pitch competition in December.
In another serendipitous event, Software Engineer Kostub Deshmukh, Sam’s current co-founder and CTO, discovered the MyWorksheets video on the Global Startup Battle website and decided to join forces with him. Based on the feedback they got during customer validation sessions, they decided to pivot and work on MathChat instead. MathChat is an iOS app that makes it easy for students to help each other to solve math problems over chat. Sam and his co-founder are now going through the Imagine K12 incubator in San Francisco and getting more and more users for their app!
Why should you go to Startup Weekend EDU? In Sam’s own words “You don’t know what’s going to happen but this may be the event that sparks an idea that ends up being your startup!”
It’s your turn. Sign up for Startup Weekend Education Seattle.
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