The Lean Lab’s 2017 Fellows. (From left to right, top down) Kiara Butler, Jenna Gorlewicz, John Styers, Corrine Mueller, Meg Davis, Alan Fairless and Roy Scott.

Cohort 4 of our Incubator Fellowship is here! We are once again bringing local and national talent together to innovate KC education.

The Lean Lab selected an exciting cohort of entrepreneurs dedicated to bringing new innovations to education in Kansas City as part of our Incubator Fellowship.

Seeking bold startups that push the boundaries of teaching and learning, we will be kicking off its fourth annual fellowship program at the (location to be announced) on August 9, 2017. The Lean Lab completed an exhaustive national and local search for top early-stage education entrepreneurs, the Fellowship program received applications from 32 cities nationally, with 52% percent of the entrepreneurs based locally in the Midwest. This year’s applicant pool consisted of 52% female founders and 54% founders of color, creating one of the most diverse and selective cohorts to date.

Following a rigorous interview process, the Lean Lab selection committee chose five teams (two local, one from St. Louis, and two national) to form Cohort 4. The teams selected are gritty, bold, and looking to close achievement gaps and build a better future for Kansas City public school students. The fellows will pilot their solutions in Kansas City schools, unveiling their progress at the culmination of the fellowship program, the pitch event Launch[ED] Day on November 16, 2017.

Roy Scott of Healthy Hip Hop (Kansas City, MO)

Healthy Hip Hop focuses on learning through movement, music and a message. Their end-user utilizes Healthy Hip Hop’s video and audio content in the classroom for morning energizers, brain breaks and pre-test taking. Educators have access to stream their creative content onto the smart boards in their classrooms to get kids active and engaged in their lesson plans. Healthy Hip Hop and the Keep It Moving Dance Mat are an innovative solution to encourage movement in the classroom and PE settings.

Alan Fairless and John Styers of Transportant (Kansas City, MO)

Transportant will collect, analyze and distribute the right data to the right individuals in real-time. Students will see mapping of their bus location, enjoy free wifi on their bus, have access to educational, fun content, homework, and research. Parents will also see the mapping of their child’s bus, receive notifications when their child enters and exits the bus.

Corinne Mueller and Jenna Gorlewicz of ViTAL (Saint Louis, MO)

ViTAL is a universally designed software that transforms digital learning content into accessible, multimodal content. The software creates content, and especially graphics, that can be consumed via touch (through vibrations), sound, and sight on commercially available touchscreens. Students interact with the content via personalized feedback, in real-time, during class. They interpret the graphics that are highly visual in nature through additional sensory modalities, providing information in the format that is most appropriate for each learner.

Kiara Butler of Diversity Talks (Providence, RI)

Diversity Talks aims to provide K-12 school districts and higher education institutions with student-led professional development grounded in the cultural competencies of diversity, equity and inclusion to increase academic performance and achievement.

Meg Davis of Explorable Places (New York, NY)

Explorable Places is an online platform that makes it easy for teachers to find and book field trips related to what they are teaching. It provides teachers with comprehensive information and field trip booking service.


This cohort of entrepreneurs will be in Kansas City during the months of August through November for the Fellowship. The Lean Lab looks forward to supporting each of these teams to make their innovations a reality in making a difference for the children in Kansas City.

Want to support our new fellows? Excited about their ventures? Reach out to Aditya Voleti at aditya@theleanlab.org to get involved!

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