Battle of the ed tech accelerators heats up: LearnLaunchX announces its first class

School’s already out for many for K-12 and college students across the country, but for some startups angling to bring technology into their classrooms, the learning process may just be beginning.

On Monday, Boston-based LearnLaunchX, one of several new accelerators for ed tech startups, announced the members of its first class. From a pool of about 100 applicants, the program said it selected eight companies, including several that are developing teacher tools and online learning services. (You can see a full list of the startups below.)

Since its February debut, LearnLaunchX has promoted itself as an extension of the Boston area education ecosystem, which is chock full of publishers, colleges and top-tier research universities.

But even though it may have Boston and its prized educational institutions in its backyard, you can be sure that accelerator-bound startups are weighing LearnLaunchX against the growing competition. The best known are Palo Alto’s Imagine K-12 and New York’s Socratic Labs, both of which have graduated at least one class. But the new TechStars-powered Kaplan program and Pearson’s Catalyst accelerator are expected to announce their inaugural classes any day now as well.

Ed tech entrepreneurs looking ahead to the programs’ next round of deadlines have been poking around, trying to figure out which of the several accelerators will help them reach the venture capitalists or pilot programs or beta customers they need to move ahead. But they – as well as potential investors and partners – will no doubt be watching the next few months closely as the programs debut their first cohorts and mentors and report progress.

Here’s a little more on LearnLaunchX’s first class:
  • Listen Edition Led by a public radio reporter, Listen edition turns public radio stories into lesson plans and other educational activities.
  • Createbiz – Targeting “creative entrepreneurs,” Createbiz is an online business school and professional development network.
  • Gradeable – Developed by a team from MIT and Harvard, Gradeable is a digital assessment tool that aims to help teachers give students smarter and faster feedback.
  • Cognii – Another assessment tool for teachers, Cognii uses natural language processing technology and was founded by a former research engineer from Nuance Communications.
  • Empow Learning – Through afterschool and summer school programs, Empow Learning familiarizes grade school students with robotics, stop motion animation, video game design and other tech-centric activities.
  • Countdown – As teachers adopt Common Core state standards, Countdown helps teachers and districts map standards across their curriculum.
  • eduCanon – Created for teachers, eduCanon aims to help make video-based instructional content more interactive.
  • Intellify Learning – Developed by LearnLaunchX’s entrepreneur-in-residence (and former Blackboard CTO), Intellify Learning says it’s a “framework for online course developers and schools, curriculum and learning designers and ed tech app developers.”