Invitation for Educational Start-ups

A year ago I started meeting some interesting people working on an innovative idea for the educational or learning market. As I had just started working on an idea with a team (MaxClass) I was inspired to meet more of them but somehow it doesn’t happen too often. Maybe it’s because learning happens all over the place so that the (non existant but potential) ‘scene’  is spread all over the place making it less likely that we meet each other.

So maybe meeting each other, learning from each other and have some fun together needs a little push. So here it is: a gettogether called Totally Edu, a group of educational startups and other innovators. The first people that have joined are from Drillster, Skillio, Movietrader, Mathgarden, Joyrite, Cool Learning and a couple more.

Are you an entrepreneur, developer, designer, creator, funder, researcher or educational specialist and are you working on bringing exciting new technology or other innovations to schools or other learning environments? Are you part of this friendly, passionate scene? Do you want to share some experiences at events (let’s start in a café)?

Got to Totally-edu.org and fill in the form!

Note: Totally-Edu is starting in the Netherlands, but feel free to request being added to our network so we can get in contact with you for later events.

Cool Learning

Recently I presented MaxClass at the “Learning of the Future” event and I bumped into serial entrepreneur Bas Mennink who presented CoolLearning – a wonderful little online tool that I thought deserved attention.

It’s basically simple: a teacher enters a list of learning tasks into an online app. The tasks (for example simple sums or word learning tasks) are scheduled to be fired at a student using social media or text messages.  Why? Bas explained to us that it will help keep a student’s brain activated in the time between lessons. And however simple the idea is, I think it’s pretty interesting. It’s well known that some students can’t cope with long summer holidays – they just forget too much. And anyone knows how hard it is to remember new things without constant repetition. I’ve recently been hearing about some applications of online learning with texting inbetween online sessions with little tasks and apparently people really love it. So I think CoolLearning might be a bit specific for some teachers but I think the general idea is great and should be given a chance.

The road to crowd funding

Ever tried funding a startup? I’ve been told that there is a 1 in 500 chance you will succeed (once you’ve developed a great idea). With this in mind I started looking for funding for MaxClass – a new private social network for education. After we had started development in April 2010 using our own money, we knew we could last a bit longer than a year.  As I think I’m at least a bit smarter than the average entrepreneur (we all do I’m sure), I told myself that good pitch and about 100 meetings should do the trick. We did after all have a brilliant idea.

So here is what I came across….

Please read the rest on Crowsourcing.org 

Dead drop hits Amsterdam

So what to do when some one facebooks about Dead drops http://deaddrops.com and there’s a blizzard in Amsterdam?

That’s right… scramble for a USB stick, a drill and some grey epoxy glue. It just needs to be done.

A Dead Drop is a USB stick cemented into a wall or stuck to something. It’s a totally unwired device where people can leave each other pieces of art, a note or just a dump of their latest work. Anything goes. It’s a concept byAram Bartholl who has done a lot of other interesting and/or fun things.

What do we put on it? someone asks. Luckily I realize that the internet was built before it was used, so that will come later. It just such a fun idea and interesting place to put things, I decided to to do it. NOW.
I got my son Laszlo interested (ok, I promised him world fame) and we got to work.
As night was falling, we got some lights out which did attract some attention but as this is Amsterdam, nobody worried too much that we were drilling a hole in the wall just after a snow storm in the dark.

As I have a startup (called MaxClass.com) I couldn’t resist dropping that name into the stick. What a way to advertise 🙂

Check the site for more location all over the world. http://deaddrops.com

dead drop location in Amsterdam

Dead drop Amsterdam

It’s a launch! Private Beta starts now.

After months of hard work and more recently 15 hour days, we made it. MaxClass went live for our private beta and we celebrated at NEMO, the science museum in Amsterdam. The director of the museum Michiel Buchel said many very nice things about us. Thank you NEMO!

We received great pictures from Peete Sneeks. http://www.flickr.com/photos/p8/sets/72157625370699906/with/5170621904/

MaxClass launch with Marc Worrell
MaxClass launch with Marc Worrell

I wanted to drop one here and I think this one is great and it’s much deserved that Marc Worrell our senior architect would be posted here. He’s watching one of the thirty people cutting the 20 meters of ribbon we had (purple of course). I promised that anybody that hung onto the piece of ribbon untill we have one million users, gets 100 Euro. This must be a 1000% increase of value!

We hope to be going live (as in really live January)

MaxClass, LinkedIn, Facebook

I guess it isn’t really good Dutch modesty to compare our MaxClass to LinkedIn and Facebook, while we’re just starting off.

And why? Well we think that MaxClass is a fundamental idea, something that will be useful at school and at home.  We love both LinkedIn and Facebook and think they have changed how we do business and deal with friends. MaxClass should really change communication at schools.  It is about time it does anyway – and the internet is ready for it!

And it also isn’t a simple get-rich-quick-scheme. You need a lot of users to run a social network – so we also aim at quite high volumes of users – especially as we’re going to give most of it away for free.

For the time being we need to launch and that we will be doing!

It’s happening at NEMO in Amsterdam on November 12th!

Www.maxclass.nl

Klas.nl wordt MaxClass

Na een jaar voorbereiden waarin ik honderden mensen heb verteld over Klas.nl, lijkt het misschien vreemd maar Klas.nl zal voortaan MaxClass heten.

MaxClass is het nieuwe social media platform voor het onderwijs waarvoor ik met vele ouders, kinderen, leerkrachten en educatieve uitgevers heb gesproken. Steeds vertelde ik over Klas.nl al wist ik dat die naam vervangen moest gaan worden omdat wij straks graag de grens over willen.

Steeds kreeg ik te horen “Goh… wat een leuke naam, dat je dat je dat domein had.” En toen kreeg ik een stagiair die ook nog een brilliant logo ontwierp (Dank je Mart van Vliet). Ik schoof het moment enkele weken voor mij uit, maar het moest er van komen. Mijn vriendin en kinderboekenschrijfster Manon Sikkel (niet de minste als het om namen bedenken gaat) gaf de doorslag met de opmerking “Kill your own darlings”. En toen was het snel gedaan en zijn wij definitief overgegaan.

De eerste die ik het vertelde waren mijn kinderen en ik had bijna een muiterij in huis. Hoe kon ik dat doen? Dat doe je toch niet. Zo’n goede naam… MaxClass… dat is niet eens normaal nederlands! Maar Facebook dan en Hyves… heb ik nog geprobeerd maar ze waren zo aan de naam gehecht (lief!) dat het twee weken duurde voordat zij hun protest neerlegde.

Het hielp misschien ook dat ze een T-shirt kregen (Van Klas.nl hadden we die ook al… poetslap anybody?)

Meer info over MaxClass? Ga naar MaxClass.com of MaxClass.nl

The perfect web 2.0 application

While analyzing office 2.0 software, I had a deep insite. I found the single factor connecting all successful web 2.0 applications.

I’ll let you have a look at several very interesting applications and give you a chance if you see it too:  Highrise (CRM by 37Signals – also the writers of some brilliant web2.0 businessbooks), Funella (online CRM), Xero (online accounting), CapsuleCRM, Batchbook, and Relenta.

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Did you see it? It’s the green button. Every web2.0 application seems to need a green button. I’m not sure but I think that the people at 37Signals might have defined the green button first and it seems everyone agrees this will lead to more sales. Well… not everyone as CapsuleCRM chose orange (very bold) and Relenta doesn’t have a button at all (what are they thinking 🙂

Actually the range of applications Ive been looking at, show that the online office is really a real option for anyone trying to avoid costs and cumbersom local servers.

If apple would make espresso machines…. (en we zoeken collega’s)

Jura!

If apple would make espresso machines this would be it.

En nu dat wij de koffie goed hebben geregeld, zoeken we mensen. Om te beginnen met een Front-end developer maar ook een aantal stagiairs (zowel programmeurs als marketing).  Laat je niet afschrikken door de Engelse advertenties. Het is gewoon in Amsterdam – maar als je toevallig geen Nederlands spreekt, is dat OK.

Zie www.maximonster.nl/work