Pittsburgh Startup Contest Startups SXSW

Carnegie Mellon Startup Chem 101 Wins Startup Madness Competition At SXSW

Chem 101 Wins Startup Madness University Startup Competition At South By Southwest

101-startupmadness-top Carnegie Mellon Startup Chem 101 Wins Startup Madness Competition At SXSW

101 pitches at Startup Madness (pic: Startup Madness via Twitter)

Last Monday at the Hilton in downtown Austin 8 college startups from across the country took the stage for the finals of the Startup Madness competition. 101, Dycap Media Solutions, Find Your Ditto, Omnipointment, Parihug, Reflexion, Swifte and Theatre Galleria were all competing for the top spot in the competition and a cash prize.

During the competition, the organizers of Startup Madness announced that each of the top three teams would take home a minimum of $1000 thanks to a generous donation.

The Startup Madness competition has filled a void left when the Startup Bus stopped coming to South By Southwest two festivals ago.

The third place winner was Reflexion Interactive Technologies. They hale from Case Western University, Pennsylvania State University and Cornell University. They have created a product for screening for concussions. The second place winner was Parihug, also from Case Western University, produces wifi enabled teddy bears that allow parents to connect to their children while they’re away in ways that they could never communicate before.

101 has created technology that allows college students to engage with lectures making them more interactive and a lot easier to absorb.

Chemical engineering, Ph.D. student, Justin Weinberg along with co-founder Igor Belyayev experienced the pain of lectures and how ineffective that learning process actually is. The lecture problem is very prevalent in STEM majors. Today 60% of college students who declare a STEM major, don’t actually finish it.  Weinberg and Belyayev believe that active learning could help improve these numbers. Traditional lectures are considered passive learning.

“What we’re trying to do with 101 is take college STEM out of the dark ages of passive learning, and usher in the new age of active learning,” Weinberg told the Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering blog, “We’re doing this by inventing tools that allow professors to easily integrate problem-solving exercises into the lecture that students can solve right on their personal devices.”

With their product, Chem101, the startup has created an edtech tool that’s improving student engagement in college STEM classrooms. Chemistry professors send problems that their students can complete on personal devices during lecture. One of their modules allows students to draw and submit structures of molecules on their tablets or smartphones and send right back to the professor.

Congratulations to all the teams that competed in the Startup Madness competition. They organizers fielded hundreds of applications from schools across the country. We’re looking forward to next year’s competition.