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Innovation & Job News

DC's eduCanon wins $100,000 investment at Global Challenge Cup

The weeklong Challenge Festival produced by 1776 wrapped up Saturday evening with the global finals of the Challenge Cup, a tournament of startups that spanned the globe to unearth innovation in education, energy, health and smart cities verticals. Attendees at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Foggy Bottom crowded the aisles to hear pitches from all 64 challenge cup semi-finalists. In the end, HandUp, a smart cities finalist from San Francisco that created a platform to directly fund neighbors in need, took home the cup and a $150,000 investment.

eduCanon, the only D.C. company to make the finals, took first prize in the education category, a $100,000 investment from 1776. Founded by Benjamin Levy in 2013, the web-based platform lets educators in the kindergarten through 12th grade create dynamic lessons based on video content, including embedding questions within the videos themselves. eduCanon spent a few months in Boston's LearnLaunch accelerator's first class in 2013.

During his time on the Challenge Festival stage, Levy explained that eduCanon is repositioning itself toward the content generated in the platform, and away from the tool itself. "Sharing lessons saves teachers time," he explained. "They can build on top of each other's work." The repositioning has come about as more than 20,000 teachers use the product and have created more than a million questions. "We've seen a lot of growth in what schools and teachers actually need. Common Core is a pressing need. We present ourselves as a canon of high quality lessons."

Levy had a busy, if rewarding, week. He and cofounder Swaroop Raju pitched at the Challenge Festival on Monday, along with 15 other semi-finalists in the education vertical. The pair then pitched at another event. "We drove to UPenn and won the McGraw Hill Open Ed award there," he explained. Levy says eduCanon will use the $15,000 grant from that award to help bring on a full-time developer and a part-time inbound marketer.

In 2015, eduCanon plans to release an enterprise version of its platform for higher education and corporate training. The company is exploring partnerships with video sources, such as TeacherTube, SchoolTube, YouTube and Vimeo, and is already working with EdModo.

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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