Pitch Competition

Pitch Competition

Startups from all over the world come to LearnLaunch to showcase their innovations in front of 1,500 potential partners, investors, and clients. Join us for an exclusive first look at the best new startups in education at the semifinal rounds on Thursday, January 30th, then vote for you favorite in the finals of the LearnLaunch2020 Pitch Competition on Friday morning.



These semifinalists have made it through the LearnLaunch Accelerator’s screening process and been selected by the judges in four quarterfinal rounds in order to appear at the conference. You can watch their pitches during the AM1 and AM2 concurrent sessions on Thursday, January 30th.




CEO - Ilya Zeldin

2gnoMe (To know me) puts teachers in the middle of their professional learning, aligned to any rubric or set of standards. Our approach clarifies who needs what kind of professional learning, and uses data to tether the entire learning experience around every teacher, at scale, with a 360° view of each learning activity and its impact.



CEO - Michael Ioffe

Arist is the text message learning platform. We help individuals and organizations instantly improve learning and training, one text message at a time.

Ascend (formerly SkoolAide)

Ascend (formerly SkoolAide)

Co-founder & COO - Christine Nicodemus


Ascend motivates students to achieve academic and behavioral goals.

Beagle Learning

Beagle Learning

CEO - Turner Bohlen

Beagle automatically summarizes and analyzes student questions so you can spend less time scrolling through discussion boards and more time discussing what your students care about.



Co-Founder - Jason Fan

BrainCeek provides work simulations where anyone with any type of background can experience different jobs in 30 minutes to 3 hours. Through the simulations, we are able to create a platform where participants can try out different types of jobs — allowing corporations to generate awareness and interest for any field which they lack talent in (widens the applicant funnel). At the same time, our participant simulation data helps us identify top candidates to funnel to corporations.



Executive Director - Jordan Levy

CapSource helps education programs bridge the skills gap for students by integrating real companies and their challenges directly into the education process.



CEO - Natasha Lopez

CollegeConnect is a mobile application that provides a comprehensive and individualized college counseling curriculum, serves as a single location for organizing and storing college application materials, and creates a collaborative space for a student’s support network to monitor their progress and provide feedback and support on their college application process.

ESI - Entrepreneurial Sales Institute

ESI - Entrepreneurial Sales Institute

Founding Partner - Alan Maguire

ESI’s mission is to support the professionalisation of the sales function through better sales education. We do this by teaching, developing and certifying Entrepreneurial Sales™ skills, competencies and mindset.



Co-Founder & CEO - Ansh Bhammar

ForagerOne is a platform recently adopted by Johns Hopkins to make student involvement in research simple and efficient, allowing students and faculty to connect across all university divisions and departments like never before.



CEO - Beth Lawrence

InferCabulary is a web-based, visual vocabulary and reasoning program using the Semantic Reasoning method.



The pitch competition judges are industry experts, experienced evaluators of education startups, and potential investors or strategic partners for the competitors.

Barbara Clarke, Partner, The Impact Seat

Barbara is an economist and investor with a portfolio of over 60 startups in the United States and Europe. She is a founding member of Astia Angels, an international angel group. She serves on the investment committee for several venture funds and is a limited partner in funds including LearnLaunch’s.

Barbara serves on the board for Portfolia, a fintech company disrupting venture capital. She led the company’s recent $3mm Seed Round.

Barbara serves on the board of Founders First Capital Partners, which manages a $100 million credit facility to provide revenue-based financing to small to medium-sized companies led by underrepresented founders.

Barbara previously served in board positions for a network of independent schools and in advisory board roles at universities.

Barbara is co-founder and principal at The Impact Seat, a strategy consulting company. She began her career at KPMG performing intellectual property valuations for multinational companies. She holds an MA in International Economics and Finance from Brandeis University and a BA in Quantitative Economics from Tufts University.

Barbara speaks English and German and can get by on her French, Italian and Spanish.

Barbara lives in Boston, but you may not find her there.


Ross Darwin, Principal, Owl Ventures

Ross joins the team directly from Stanford Business School and brings a strong foundation of investment and education experience to the Owl team. Prior to receiving his MBA, Ross spent 3.5 years at TA Associates as an Associate where he was active in deal sourcing, due diligence, deal execution and portfolio support. Ross evaluated a number of opportunities in the education space and was an integral member of one of the major education deals that TA closed. Prior to TA Associates, Ross was an Associate at The Parthenon Group, a consulting firm that specializes in education and private equity work. Ross worked on numerous client projects including a unique education assignment where he developed classification and intervention programs for CORE, the largest 8 school districts in CA to seek US Department of Education approval for a custom program to replace the requirements of No Child Left Behind.

Ross graduated from Stanford University in 2012 with honors of Phi Beta Kappa, Stanford Award of Excellence and the Innovative Research Award. Ross received his M.B.A from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2019.


Jessica Haselton, Director of Program-Related Investments, ECMC Foundation

Jessica Haselton leads Education Innovation Ventures, the Foundation’s program-related investment program. Jessica has a broad background in grantmaking, social enterprise, impact measurement and impact investing. Prior to joining ECMC Foundation, Jessica was a partner at TriLinc Global, an investment management firm that makes impact investments in small and medium enterprises in developing economies, where she managed investor relations, corporate social responsibility and corporate communications for the firm.

Jessica came to TriLinc Global after conducting a post-graduate fellowship at the Clinton Foundation, where she led the development of an impact measurement system and produced key performance indicators for the organization’s members to use in tracking and reporting on the performance of their social and environmentally focused work. She has worked with multiple nonprofit organizations, spanning Southern California, Washington, DC, and Southeast Asia.

Jessica holds an MBA with an emphasis in social entrepreneurship from the USC Marshall School of Business, and a BA in political science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Terry McDonough, SVP and Managing Director, SEI Ventures

Prior to SEI Ventures, Terry was CEO at Generation Code, a K-12 computer science program offered in many New York City schools, and Strayer@Work, a workforce consultancy that helps employers understand the business impact of identifying and closing organizational skill gaps. Terry spent several years serving a wide range of education clients with McKinsey & Co., taught middle-school at a high-achieving charter school in Boston, taught English in Korea, and began his career as a Teach for America Corps member in rural Arkansas.

Terry earned a MPA in Economics and Urban Policy from Harvard Kennedy School, a MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT, and a BA in English from The College of William and Mary.  He lives in the Greater D.C. area.


Marta McAllister, Senior Program Manager, Google

Marta McAlister is a former teacher turned Googler who drives the voice of educators in product and program development. Marta has worked on education teams at Google for over 8 years and is currently focused on building productivity and collaboration tools for higher education. Her most recent work is on Assignments, a set of tools that help instructors improve how they create, collect, and give feedback on coursework. Marta previously worked on education hardware and content for Chrome and Android.

Outside of work, Marta sits on the Boston Chamber of Commerce workforce development board and the Emerging Leaders Board for Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE), influencing education policy and programs like teacher compensation and digital equity. She graduated from Brown University and has her M.Ed in childhood and special education from Hunter College. Inspired by her family and friends around the globe, Marta enjoys traveling like a local, lacing up her sneakers to run and explore. Follow her on Twitter @martmcal.


Terry McDonough, SVP & Managing Director, SEI Ventures

Prior to SEI Ventures, Terry was CEO at Generation Code, a K-12 computer science program offered in many New York City schools, and Strayer@Work, a workforce consultancy that helps employers understand the business impact of identifying and closing organizational skill gaps. Terry spent several years serving a wide range of education clients with McKinsey & Co., taught middle-school at a high-achieving charter school in Boston, taught English in Korea, and began his career as a Teach for America Corps member in rural Arkansas.

Terry earned a MPA in Economics and Urban Policy from Harvard Kennedy School, a MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT, and a BA in English from The College of William and Mary. He lives in the Greater D.C. area.


George Moore, Chief Technology Officer, Cengage

George Moore is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Cengage. In this role, he is responsible for shaping Cengage’s long-term technology vision and driving innovation across the company during a transformative time.

As a member of Cengage’s Executive Team, Mr. Moore reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer. In addition to his role as CTO, Mr. Moore serves as the Head of House in Cengage’s corporate headquarters. In this capacity, he leads all local employee engagement efforts.

With a passion for revolutionizing the education and publishing industries through the use of technology, Mr. Moore spearheads strategic partnerships and collaborations with faculty and students to drive a student-centric model of digital innovation. Driven by this focus on student success, Mr. Moore leads integrated teams of technology and education experts to work side-by-side to deliver cutting-edge digital innovations through technology platforms and tools.

Under Mr. Moore’s leadership, Cengage’s MindTap learning platform has emerged as the company’s flagship technology. Cengage now offers MindTap products for over 450 courses spanning the vast majority of disciplines. Cengage continues to add critical features to the MindTap platform in a disciplined, prioritized way allowing for significant course-level features and user personalization.

Prior to joining Cengage, Mr. Moore served as CTO of Elsevier Health Science, where he was recruited to transform the world’s leading medical publishing company into a medical information company. During his tenure, he was instrumental in developing ClinicalKey, one of the most innovative and successful product introductions in the health-care information industry.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Moore served as the SVP of Product Development for Thomson Reuter’s Healthcare organization, where he led the consolidation effort of the company’s disparate acquisitions into a consolidated product development organization. Mr. Moore has also held various roles with a number of commercial software companies. Most prominently, he was VP of Product Development at Liquent, the industry leader in Pharmaceutical Publishing and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. At Liquent, he led the company’s efforts in defining how pharmaceutical companies would develop their information management systems that support drug discovery and approval, and also played a leading role in the sale and integration of Liquent into Thomson Reuters.


Eduardo Laiter, Senior Investment Analyst, Kapor Capital

Eduardo focuses on evaluating new investment prospects, assisting on due diligence, and is passionate about working with entrepreneurs to deploy solutions that remove gaps of access and opportunity amongst LatinX and African American communities. He joined Kapor Capital in 2018 after having previously participated in our Summer Fellowship program.

Prior to Kapor Capital he was at H-Code Media and Virool, two advertising solutions companies, where he focused on website monetization, business development in the Latin American regions, and partnership development. He also brings with him valuable experience in the wealth management and entertainment industries, from Merrill Lynch and Marvel Studios respectively. Eduardo holds a Bachelors of Science in Business Management from Babson College with a concentration on Technology, Entrepreneurship and Design.

Outside of work Eduardo enjoys exploring new restaurants, scuba diving, photography, camping, and cooking.

Jason Palmer, General Partner, New Market Venture Partners

Jason Palmer is General Partner at New Markets Venture Partners, one of the nation’s leading education-focused venture capital firms. New Markets focuses on high impact, early and growth stage edtech companies that improve student outcomes while building profitable organizations.

Jason brings twenty years of experience as an education technology entrepreneur, investor and board member. He is currently a board director for Motimatic, Mursion and Signal Vine, and serves as a board observer for APDS, Credly, LearnPlatform and Regent Education.

Jason previously served as Deputy Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, after founding and grew three investor-backed technology and services companies and holding a series of executive positions at Microsoft, SchoolNet, Kaplan and StraighterLine.


Liam Pisano, Managing Partner, EduLab Capital

Liam Pisano is a Managing Partner at EduLab Capital Partners. Prior to co-founding EduLab Capital Partners, Liam was the Managing Director at LearnLaunch, an early stage education technology investment platform and co-working space. There he managed all LearnLaunch investment activity and drove domestic and international strategy for the organization. He has over 16 years of direct investing experience, holding investment professional positions at Spectrum Equity Investors, Hercules Capital and Patriot Capital. He also co-founded one of the first MOOC’s for student use, Academic Earth, which was named as Time Magazine top websites of 2009 and was eventually sold to an ABRY Partners portfolio company.

Liam received his B.A in Political Science from Williams College, where he was a member of the two time National Championship Division III cross country team. He received his M.B.A from Yale University where he was a founding member of the Yale Economic Review.

He is a proud 17-year member of the Big Brothers Association of Massachusetts, a two time big brother and former Big Brother of the Year. He is also co-founder of the William Gaines Foundation (Biggie’s Kids), a non-profit organization serving underprivileged inner city high school students.