Workshop hosted by Impact Engine; Companies in competition to win $50,000

February 25, 2015 (Chicago)—Today Village Capital, in collaboration with Citi, opened the second workshop of the Village Capital EdTech: US 2015 program at Impact Engine, housed in incubator 1871 in downtown Chicago.

Participating companies, a majority of which are either women or minority-owned, will work on new technology solutions over the next three months to address challenges in the education sector, with the mentorship of leading investors and policy makers. All the companies aim to scale their solutions to improve educational outcomes across the country and create new jobs for local communities.

For example, Chicago-based Infiniteach, also an Impact Engine Portfolio company, is creating customized digital learning applications for children on the autism spectrum.

Village Capital’s award-winning curriculum will provide the ventures with mentorship from corporate executives, investors, nonprofits, and the public sector, as well as face-to-face time with potential customers. Mentors from Chicago include Eileen Murphy Buckley, CEO/Founder of ThinkCERCA; Bror Saxberg, Chief Learning Officer at Kaplan Inc.; Jim Ferguson, VP of Design and Technology at Pearson Education; and Tim King, Founder of Urban Prep.

After three months of training, the entrepreneurs leading these ventures will rank each other, and the two highest-ranked companies will receive $50,000 each in pre-committed capital from Village Capital’s affiliated investment fund, VilCap Investments LLC.

Winners will be announced on April 2.

“We think we can reach more families and more teachers [in the autism community], and Village Capital’s program provides that opportunity,” said Katie Hench, co-founder of Infiniteach.

“The Citi-Village Capital collaboration for this EdTech program is unique because it offers promising early-stage ventures the opportunity to achieve greater scale and impact by connecting with new prospective customers and investors,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Community Development. “This program will help foster a pathway for entrepreneurs to facilitate job creation and economic growth in their local communities.”

Participating companies are:

  • Bright Bot, which builds technology to leverage creative thinking as a key tool for self-driven learning;
  • Calolo, which is a smart virtual college counselor that helps students, families, and high schools easily navigate the college admissions and financial aid process;
  • Crescerance, which is a communications apps in the K-12 Education Space; and now on a journey to becoming #1 nationally for enabling private and public schools to teach their students Mobile App Development;
  • edConnective, which helps teachers move from good to great and great to outstanding;
  • Homework Unlocked, which aims to improve academic success in schools by fundamentally transforming how children learn at home;
  • Infiniteach , which customized digital learning for children on the Autism Spectrum;
  • Learning Games Network which makes effective learning games and assessment tools for learners of all ages worldwide;
  • Mathalicious, which writes real-world math lessons for middle and high school teachers;
  • MPOWER Financing, which provides college financing to high-potential thin-file students who are left out by traditional lenders; and
  • Pear Deck, which helps teachers hear from every student, every day.

The program is further supported by content partners Kauffman Foundation, Owl Ventures, New Markets Venture Partners, New Schools Venture Fund, Pearson and ReThink Education.

About Village Capital

Village Capital sources, trains and invests in seed-stage entrepreneurs with business solutions to major global problems. Their peer-selection model and curriculum were awarded McKinsey/Harvard Business Review’s prestigious M-Prize for innovation in 2013. Over the past 5 years, program graduates have reached 6 million customers, created over 7,000 jobs, and raised more than $110 million in follow-on capital. To date, 96% of its alumni would recommend Village Capital’s programs to other entrepreneurs, and 93% of its portfolio companies are still in business. To learn more, visit

About Citi

Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

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About Impact Engine

Impact Engine invests in for-profit businesses addressing the world’s greatest social and environmental challenges. Through financial and human capital, it empowers entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors to make a collective impact on society.

 Press Contact
Kate McCrery, Global Communications Manager, Village Capital, 917-691-4238