Last night, Wednesday March 5th, RobotsLAB was named the winner of the 2014 LAUNCHedu competition at SXSW. RobotsLAB emerged from more than 80 competitors to win the 3rd annual LAUNCHedu contest. The prize of $2,500 comes at the end of what is really more of a marathon than a pitch contest:
Beginning in August, promising education entrepreneurs from across the United States and around the world entered their innovative startup products and/or services in the LAUNCHedu competition. Following a rigorous pre-event review process, 10 finalists were selected to compete in the exciting event during SXSWedu, March 3-6, 2014. The selected startups will take the stage in March to highlight their innovations in an elevator-style pitch competition before the live SXSWedu audience and an esteemed judging panel of venture capitalists, successful entrepreneurs and education practitioners.1
RobotsLAB has a pretty ingenious educational product – obviously, they won LAUNCHedu. The San Francisco company’s main product is the RobotsLAB Box.
The RobotsLAB Box provides educators with a set of tools to teach abstract math concepts in a more interactive way. According to the company’s website:
RobotsLAB BOX is a teaching aid designed to help educators demonstrate abstract concepts in math and science through the use of robots. The kit helps teachers to demonstrate Algebra I&II, Physics, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus’ core concepts using robots.2
While much of the innovation in the STEM education space tends to focus more on the science, technology, and engineering components, it is refreshing to see a company innovating in the math education space. A figure cited in RobotsLAB’s press materials displays how sorely needed such innovation is: “mathematics proficiency in high school students has fallen to 32%.” Perhaps the LAUNCHedu winner can make a dent in that number.
Here is a video of the award ceremony: