Imagine K12

Imagine K12 graduates 3rd Batch – Application for Winter Cohort Extended

Imagine K12

Last Friday Imagine K12 presented its eleven startups that make up the Summer Cohort of 2012 at a demo day in Palo Alto to investors and the (ed)tech press.

Since its launch in early 2011 Imagine K12 has already build up a nice track record of interesting startups in the K-12 space. Probably even more important for the accelerator that takes about 6% of the companies it accepts in each batch, most of the startups were also interesting to investors.

13 of the 19 startups total that went through the Imagine K12 program collectively raised more than $10 million in funding and their products have been used by 200k teachers and 3 million students. Of course, the moment of truth will come when those startups need to raise their next round in case they will not have managed to be profitable at that point. But that’s another 6 to 12 months down the road.

I won’t go over all of the startups that presented last Friday but concentrate on the ones I find most promising according to their pitch. You can find the complete list over on Imagine K12, of course.


Chalk saves educators time from paperwork. Teachers and administrators can distribute documents electronically, fill out forms automatically, and request information and e-signatures. Chalk tracks and stores all responses so users get instant updates on critical documents and never have to worry about lost or misplaced files again.

Tools that help to streamline administration and eventually help to cut down cost are always kind of a safe bet. Name does not match the service, though.


Edcanvas is redefining presentations in the modern classroom. We are the one place for teachers and students to create, present and share knowledge. Teachers and students can easily create an engaging canvas/presentation by dragging and dropping internet resources from YouTube, Google, etc. and even from their personal Dropbox and Google Drive accounts. These canvases can then be shared and updated throughout the school year. Edcanvas is fun, easy and beautiful!

With interactive whiteboards in the classroom but no compelling apps or software that makes use of them, Edcanvas could be a great tool to make presentations and learning more engaging. Actually everything that kills PowerPoint in the classroom is good. I won’t say that the space is getting crowded just yet, but they’re also not early in the game. Great name.


NoRedInk is an adaptive learning tool that helps students improve their grammar/writing skills. Our engine generates personalized curriculum from students’ interests and adapts to their abilities with instant feedback, tutorials, and color-coded heat maps. With no marketing, we’re in 4% of U.S. schools. We won NBC’s $75,000 Innovation Challenge in September and have been featured on the TODAY show, Mashable,, US News & World Report, and Hack Education. We’re backed by ImagineK12 and led by an English teacher who, after grading 15,000 papers, decided to leverage technology to eliminate “red ink.”

A darling of the (ed)tech press but there seems to be real potential. The early traction amongst schools also shows that the product is actually interesting to the end users. Good name.


Securly is the first web filter that has been designed from the ground up for schools. It is completely cloud based, takes five minutes to set up per district and costs a fraction of the enterprise solutions that schools are forced to pay for today. We solve the problem of “over blocking” in schools by allowing educators to safely use 21st century instructional tools such as Google, YouTube and Wikipedia in the classroom.

Web filters, privacy and safety are huge topics. A company that can effectively solve these problems should be a winner. Nice name though it’s spelled incorrect, of course.


SmarterCookie makes it easy for schools, instructional coaches, and mentors to use video coaching to support their teachers. With a phone, laptop, or camera, teachers record video of a lesson, upload it to the site, and share it privately with their colleagues. Coaches provide time-stamped feedback that is specific and actionable for teachers to implement immediately. It’s effective – every teacher, new and experienced, benefits from frequent coaching – and we handle the complexities of sharing video privately and organizing feedback so that more teachers can reach their potential.

Personal / professional development and coaching are good fields to be in. If the platform offers a really easy and intuitive way this could be a decent business. Needs a better name.


Tioki is the online professional network that gives educators access to the most valuable resource out there – other educators! Tioki makes the discovery process easy: Simply tell us who you are and what you’re looking for, and we’ll match you to real educators who can help you get your questions answered and your needs met. But what’s even greater is that with every connection you make on Tioki, your professional network expands, increasing your opportunities for growth and career advancement.

Tioki, the startup formerly known as DemoLesson (Alicia Chang covered DemoLesson for EDUKWEST). Apparently, the founders pivoted the platform from a recruiting service to a professional career network for educators. I liked the idea behind DemoLesson more, to be honest though a vertical career network is of course the bigger idea and DemoLesson could be a feature of it. Don’t get the name at all.

If you want to take part in the upcoming Winter Cohort 2012, Imagine K12 extended the application deadline to Monday, November 5th.

Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at