TU Incubator Hits Milestone
There’s a storm coming to Baltimore, the kind you relish, that avails more innovation and change than ever before experienced. This storm affects Greater Baltimore’s citizens in a myriad of ways: health, energy, cyber security, manufacturing, retail, and, none too soon — education.
As Towson University’s President, Kim Schatzel, is apt to declare, ‘TU Matters to Maryland!’ Certainly, this is an understatement when it comes to education innovation and TU’s longstanding service to teacher preparation and leadership. However, this becomes even more relevant when one considers edtech innovation and the university’s incubator, where Maryland’s largest cluster of education technology companies is supported.
Recently, the Towson University Incubator (TU Incubator) hit a milestone of twenty (20) edtech member companies. This arbitrary but somewhat amazing milestone required us to pause, take a quick, deep breath in the middle of a busy Spring 2017 semester to take stock of what we had accomplished over the last year few years.
Over three years ago, we made the strategic decision to tilt the incubator toward edtech. We began in that first year with one member, then two, then a few. In January 2016, we had nine edtech members; a year later, we had 16. Recently, we added our 20th edtech member, ironically a TU student-founded company with a unique university visitation model garnered with ground-based user experience. The proverbial logo field of incubator member companies is depicted below, with a corresponding one-line description of each company following the image. Our edtech member companies are solving problems and serving all manner of end users across K-12 (~52%), Postsecondary (~35%), and Lifelong Learning (~13%).
TU Incubator EdTech Member Companies
- 4D Metrics — Postsecondary course development solution
- Admit.me — Postsecondary (+ K-12) admissions networking platform
- CampusESP — Postsecondary parent engagement platform
- Classroom Parent — Secure K-12 platform connecting home and school
- CourseArc — Postsecondary course authoring platform
- iFlipd — Postsecondary textbook rental solution
- InferCabulary — K-12 supplemental vocabulary platform
- Lessoncast — K-12 teacher effectiveness platform
- Mandrel Books — Postsecondary content utilization solution
- Mindprint Learning — Online evaluation of K-12 student strengths/needs
- New Legacy Project — Nonprofit adult financial literacy organization
- OgStar Reading — Gamified program to reach exceptional K-12 readers
- Pietrzak & Co. — K through LLL web-based music instruction
- PledgeCents — Crowdsourced funding platform for K-12 classrooms
- SchoolCNXT — K-12 enterprise parent engagement platform
- Sentence Wheel — Lifelong learning language solution
- SmartyReader — K-12 close reading platform
- Spiral Math — K-12 math formative assessment solution
- Spoken — Lifelong learning language application
- TransitioningU — Postsecondary mobile student success solution
- University Visits — Postsecondary tech-enabled college visits solution
- The Whole Teacher — K-12 teacher health + wellness solution
- Workbench — K-12 STEM project-based learning platform
Our Focus on Founder Diversity
At TU Incubator, we mirror the University’s ethos of inclusion and diversity, are emphatic about these qualities in our founding teams. Per the above image, 9 of our 23 edtech member companies (39%) have women founders, and over half of our companies were founded by either a woman or a person of color. We feel this founder diversity best represents the end users they serve, sets up companies with diverse, inclusive cultures, and is certainly a current and future representation of Towson University, the Baltimore metro, the Mid-Atlantic region, our nation, and beyond.
It is wonderful to know that a public university with 150 years of market-based experience in teacher preparation and leadership, with unrelenting service to Maryland and regional stakeholders, is similarly involved in finding, supporting, and catalyzing authentic technological and service innovation in teaching and learning. After all, what else would you expect?