Who: Chalkable App Store
What: A web based store for schools to gain access to the best tools and content on the web. Every user has an app budget with real dollars ready to be spent on educationally relevant web apps.
Why? Founders Zoli and Michael set out to create a better platform for education after seeing huge pitfalls in platforms such as Blackboard and Angel like they used in college.
Traction: Fresh off of funding and advisement from 500 Startups and others, Chalkable has expanded from a private beta to 50 schools since launch (September 2012).
Pros: Focus on a platform and app store rather than just another social learning network like Schoology and Edmodo. Beautiful design and easy to setup an account and get started even without the help of a sales or technical rep.
Cons: Crowded space, but lots of upside potential. Building districtwide partnerships and contracts will be difficult with such a small team and early stage company.
Keys to Success: Investors and advisors such as Luke Shepard (brains behind Facebook Connect and Mobile Platform) will surely help with the product side of things and bring creditability to an otherwise early stage startup
Future: Look for a soon to launch feature rich iPhone app that incorporates useful analytics on each student and more seamless approach for developers to build apps on the Chalkable platform.
Who: LooksForBooks (LFB.me)
What: It’s like Kayak.com for Books
In their own words: “Price comparison engine for textbooks or any book new, used, or e-books!”
Pros: Works seamlessly - simply search, compare, and pick the best price from book sites across the web all in one place. As a bonus they provide exclusive coupons and deals on top of the best prices! Get an instant quote to sell your old books back as well!
Cons: No iOS app, but works on mobile as web based app… J
Funding: Angel(s) seeking to close seed round of $250k
Bottom line: Cool branding, great site, and useful to any college student looking to save cash towards their textbooks. Early traction has been promising and they look to scale very quickly after closing on a seed round.
Invest @ https://angel.co/looksforbooks