Four Startups Cash In at 4.0 Schools Education Challenge Pitch at Entrepreneur Week

4.0 SchoolsThe early-stage education incubator 4.0 Schools hosted its annual Education Challenge Pitch designed a few years back to bring together passionate entrepreneurs who are building the future of school, one piece at a time.

The pitch, now an essential part of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), hosted eight education innovators, all tackling the most challenging issues in the field.

Up to $30,000 was on the line for the eight entrepreneurs that pitched education prototypes and ventures in two tracks: pre-revenue and revenue.

Blank Schools, MakerState, Smarter Cookie and Culture Connect pitched in the revenue track. The pre-revenue track companies included Positive Space, FatHappy Games, STEMSnaps and 180Hooks.

The judges were in charge of more than half the total prize pot, which was awarded to companies to continue on with their ventures following the pitch event in Gallier Hall. The rest of the funding came from an audience vote. Each attendee received two chips–one for each track equaling real dollar amounts– to donate to their companies of choice.

After a deliberation from judges, #HWYTYYS was awarded the $2,500 to advance the venture that asks “how would you teach your younger self?” The startup, which was in the pre-revenue track, has created a platform that is a monthly challenge for curious learners and creative educators working towards re-imagining word problems.

Culture Connect

Culture Connect co-founder Monika Smyczek pitched at the 4.0 Schools Education Challenge at Gallier Hall.

Grand prize winner and revenue track company, Culture Connect was awarded a total of $12,500 to continue to build their platform that puts mobile technology in the hands of every museum and cultural institution – giving them the tools needed to create vibrant and engaging experiences for visitors. The company made NOEW history by announcing the launch of their product earlier this week during a pitch.

49% of the audience vote was in favor of pre-revenue track pitch SMARTSnaps, resulting in a $1,220 cash infusion. Led by 4.0 alum Nicki Anselmo, the platform allows students and teachers snap and share pictures showing evidence of everyday STEM. The audience surely like that Anselmo admitted to only launching the product this past Sunday during the pitch.

MakerState, the revenue track company topping out with 53% of the audience votes, took home $6,625 to advance the now national organization that creates maker spaces for kids.

Additionally, local students from International School pitched after the pre-revenue and revenue track pitches concluded. The well-received pitch resulted in a $500 anonymous donation from a member of the audience.

“If you put your ideas out there, we will respond. We’ll continue to challenge you to push those things out in the world,” concluded 4.0 CEO Matt Candler.


We’d like to thank our sponsors for SBN’s involvement in New Orleans Entrepreneur Week: 365 ConnectFederated Sample, and Peer Partners. Want to be a sponsor? Email!

Startup Showcase 2014