Natterhub wins GESAwards UK semifinal, hosted by EDUCATE

Online digital safety and literacy tool for KS1 and KS2 children chosen as UK’s representative for prestigious global startup awards

26.11.2021, Rowland Wells

Natterhub, an online platform teaching children to be safe and kind digital citizens, is through to the finals of the 2021 Global EdTech Start-up Awards (GESAwards) after beating nine other high-flying EdTech companies in the UK semifinals, organised and hosted by regional partner, EDUCATE Ventures Research.

The online event saw each participating company give a three-minute presentation to judges after being shortlisted to pitch for the prestigious prize. The runners-up, as chosen by judges, were Bulletmap Academy, an innovative, organisational approach to de-stressing dyslexia, and Zzish, a data-driven product suite and toolkit to accelerate learning.

The companies had to demonstrate, among other criteria, what market-relevant pain point they were addressing, provide an innovative pedagogical approach, and show potential for growth with a sustainable business model.

They were judged by Dr Becky Sage, Director of Acceleration, and Dr Ekaterina Cooper, Principal Researcher, EDUCATE Ventures Research; Ricardo Prado Schneider, Chief Scientific Officer, Square Learning Technologies, and Richard Culatta, author and CEO, ISTE.

“With soaring statistics regarding online vulnerability around the globe, there is a need for a global solution”

Natterhub was co-founded by Manjit Sareen, CEO, and Caroline Allams, Chief Product Officer, who said that they were inspired to “tackle the thing that frightened us the most as both parents and as educators.”

“In every other area of child development where there is potential risk, we create an education around it,” Caroline explained. “When it comes to screens, we just put children online and hope for the best. With soaring statistics regarding online vulnerability around the globe, there is a need for a global solution.”

“We are very driven with our mission to reach as many children as possible to mitigate the risk of being on the internet, an abstract space that is both exciting and risky for children who venture unaided and educated. But with tech dependency at an all-time high, it’s no longer enough to be simply safe online, children have a right to thrive online, and winning the UK semifinals and being in with a chance at the GESAward finals in January of next year means literally the world to us.”

The GESAwards UK regional semifinals promotional banner, designed by MindCet. EDUCATE has been the UK partner for the awards since 2018

The other seven companies who competed in the GESAwards semi-final were Adapt, ProjectSet, Quilgo, Role Models, Unifrog, and ZNotes. Half of the contestants were EDUCATE Accelerator Programme alumni, with a further company due to attend its unique research training programme in the coming months.

“I am amazed at the level of maturity of all the companies who pitched — especially as it pertains to the research mindset across the companies, showing evidence of product impact alongside a commercial case.”

Dr Becky Sage, Director of Acceleration, and Dr Anissa Moeini, Expert-in-Residence at EDUCATE Ventures Research headlined the event with a fireside chat on evidence-empowered EdTech, and why it is so crucial for the education ecosystem.

Dr Moeini said: “it is wonderful to see impact at the centre of so much of the conversation around effective EdTech. It was really encouraging that the judges’ questions during the pitches reflected this, and that educational outcomes are centre-stage.”

Dr Sage, who presented at the start of the event as well as presiding over judging, reported that the judges found it incredibly difficult to choose between contenders.

“I am amazed at the level of maturity of all the companies who pitched — especially as it pertains to the research mindset across the companies, showing evidence of product impact alongside a commercial case.

“All entrants are delivering tech-driven solutions to some clearly articulated educational challenges, so it was very difficult to arrive at a winner. The passion, traction and timely focus of Natterhub on a high priority challenge, helped them to rise to the top.”

During the event, which was organised by EDUCATE’s Director of Research Communication (non-academic), Rowland Wells, participants heard from a special EdTech roundtable about why research is vital to the business of building innovative and impactful learning tools and understanding customers and data. Led by Tom Hooper, Founder and CEO of Third Space Learning, the panel consisted of EDUCATE Accelerator Programme alumni Heather Lyons, Founder and Director of Blue Shift Coding, Kirsten Campbell-Howes, Chief Learning Officer of Busuu, and Murray Morrison, Founder and CEO of Tassomai.

The full recording can be viewed on YouTube at the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnSC-i6elxQ

Special thanks to Dot Lepkowska, EDUCATE Communications and Media Lead, for supplying the article template.

About the winning companies:

Natterhub

Natterhub teaches children to be safe and kind digital citizens

Watch our introduction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkMhQ3PUQPs

Who are we?

Natterhub is a gated, immersive online safety and media literacy platform for primary schools

What we do:

We have created a library of 350+ interactive lessons, quizzes, activities and assessment for pupils to develop the digital soft skills to be safe, savvy and kind online

Who do we do it for:

For all students around the world aged 5–11 years. Currently targeting the UK and international school market but already looking into translations. Also just about to launch an integration with Microsoft Teams!

What the audience needs:

Teachers need a time saving, easy to access solution that creates impact in the classroom. Students need an immersive, safe environment to practise what they have learned in lessons. Natterhub is innovative and immersive so it resonates with platforms children use in real life

How they change as a result:

By raising the profile of media literacy and digital communication in schools, children have the chance to approach the internet with the relevant experience, guidance and digital resilience

Where can we find you?

Visit natterhub.com!

Bulletmap Academy

Bulletmap Academy de-stresses dyslexia

Watch our introduction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PUxv3BAFM8

Who are we?

I’m Darius Namdaran, CEO of Bulletmap Academy, and we de-stress dyslexia

What we do:

We provide online tutoring for children and teens with dyslexia. We use a unique essay writing tool that combines elements of mind mapping and Cornell notes with Seven well-researched dyslexia and executive functioning techniques All into a one-page process. We call it the Bulletmap Process

Who do we do it for:

We help the 10% of students who have dyslexia and struggle in an education system not designed for the way their minds work

What the audience needs:

They need a simple tool to organize their thoughts visually and complete well-structured essays under exam conditions

How they change as a result:

Our results are transformative. Children consistently report greater confidence, better results and less anxiety

What inspired you to create Bulletmap Academy?
I have dyslexia, but it’s not until you see your child go through this that you realize the full extent of the pain it causes. Our mission is to help 1 million children with dyslexia mind map by 2030

What does winning the runner-up spot in the UK semifinal mean for Bulletmap Academy?
Thank you for selecting us as one of the top three most promising UK EdTech startups in the UK semi-finals of the Global EdTech Awards. Our hope is that this recognition will help us connect with a partner who can help us go to the next level

Where can we find you?

Visit bulletmapacademy.com!

Zzish

The best quiz platform for remote or face-to-face classrooms

Watch our introduction: https://zzish-1.wistia.com/medias/d4xq3makr9

Who are we?

We’re Zzish, the force behind Quizalize. We like to say to teachers that we give them the superpowers to personalize their teaching to every student

What we do:

Quialize is our fun, whole-class quiz game that lets teachers quickly get data in the classroom on each learner’s current understanding of each learning objective in a curriculum. Teachers can use this mastery data instantly to group learners with similar learning gaps for more personalized teaching. Teachers can also assign different follow-up resources to different learners, automatically, depending on their quiz results. This ensures that each learner gets the best learning resource to help them progress fastest

Who do we do it for:

K-12 teachers!

What the audience needs:

Quizalize uses Big Data algorithms to help teachers optimize their teaching strategy saving countless planning hours with tools to enable teachers to personalize and differentiate learning for individual students based on accurate data. Quizalize starts by collecting standards mastery data every day in the classroom to provide a complete and up-to-date picture of each student’s current state of understanding. We then aim to identify resources predicted to deliver the best improvement in overall class mastery. At the same time, we make all the data collected available to teachers immediately through a variety of data dashboards

How they change as a result:

Experiments and analyses conducted by schools independently and without our knowledge show amazing progress on different fronts. In Round Rock, Texas, teachers in middle school science found that Quizalize resulted in students of all ability levels achieving higher scores of 8%-10% in end-of-year state standardized tests. In Mooresville, Quizalize helped teachers close the achievement gap in quarterly Grade 7 Science tests between white and disadvantaged students from 32% to 24%. And we have data showing that Quizalize improved exam pass rates for college students studying on a plumbing course in the UK by 25%

What inspired you to create Zzish?
According to UNICEF, 617m children worldwide leave school without achieving minimum levels of proficiency in maths and literacy. We believe we can use technology to fix this and ensure every student fulfills their learning potential

What does winning the runner-up spot in the UK semifinal mean for Zzish?
This is the most prestigious worldwide competition for EdTech startups and judges by real-world experts in the field. Thus it feels amazing that such experts see what we are doing as both impactful and commercially viable

Where can we find you?

Visit quizalize.com!

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EDUCATE is a pioneering research accelerator helping entrepreneurs develop world-class EdTech interventions, through training, consultancy, and data science.