Launch celebrates emerging innovations in learning with a fast-paced pitch competition featuring early-stage startups during SXSW EDU.

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Photo by Steven Snow.

Photo by Steven Snow.

About the Launch Competition


The eighth annual Launch competition will take place at SXSW EDU 2019. This exciting event provides a platform for entrepreneurs seeking feedback, investment, strategic partnerships, and exposure, to present their early-stage company before a panel of industry experts, early adopters, investors, and educators as well as the live SXSW EDU audience.

Eight startup finalists have been selected to compete in the fast-paced, live event.

Entry Process Overview

Early-stage education startups are encouraged to complete the online application process to be considered as a finalist for the 2019 Launch competition.

Important Dates

Monday, June 25:
Application Opens

EXTENDED to Sunday, November 11:
Application Closes

Eligibility Requirements

A company’s product or service must:

  • Have launched no earlier than January 1, 2016.
  • Have not launched after June 4, 2019.
  • Be incorporated with a management team, and public-facing website.
  • Be able to convey a sustainable business model.
  • Be able to demonstrate user traction, engagement, and adoption metrics.
  • Not have raised over $5 million in funds from combined funding sources at time of application.

Selection Criteria

The evaluation of each company’s application, conducted by the SXSW EDU Launch Advisory Board committee as well as the SXSW EDU staff, is based on the following criteria:

  1. Creativity: Originality of the idea.
  2. Potential: Longevity, actualization and profitability of the idea.
  3. Functionality: Usability of interface for the idea.
  4. Team/People: Who is your team and how will they make your company a success.
  5. Impact: What potential does this product/service have to improve educational outcomes?

Application Instructions

edu-2019-research-graphicSTEP 1 Research

Before beginning the application, determine if your startup is the right fit for the competition by reviewing the eligibility requirements, FAQ, and the list of past finalists.

edu-2019-laptop-graphicSTEP 2 Online Application

Begin your application by clicking “start application” below. Please note there is a $200 application fee associated with the SXSW EDU Launch application. Once you begin your application you can save your work and come back at a later time to finish and submit by the deadline.

To submit your application you must create a free universal SXSW account. You may do this at the beginning of your application or it will prompt you once you are saving your information or submitting your application.

edu-2019-checklist-graphicSTEP 3 Review

Review your application and save any pertinent information one last time before you hit submit! After submitting your application you will not be able to edit or review the information.

STEP 4 Submit

Once you have completed the application and agreed to all of the terms and conditions, you are ready to submit!

Launch FAQ

For frequently asked questions and answers about the competition, please review the Launch FAQ.



Caroline Winnett

Caroline Winnett

Executive Director, Berkeley SkyDeck

Caroline is Executive Director of Berkeley SkyDeck, UC Berkeley’s flagship startup accelerator. At SkyDeck she leads a program that hosts over 200 companies per year. She recently launched the Berkeley SkyDeck Fund, a VC fund investing in SkyDeck startups that donates half of fund profits back to UC Berkeley.

Prior to Berkeley SkyDeck, Caroline was a serial entrepreneur. Caroline co-founded the pioneer company in the neuromarketing industry, NeuroFocus, which was acquired by Nielsen in 2011. Before her career in startups, Caroline was a professional concert violinist. Caroline is a recognized speaker on startups, accelerators, and consumer neuroscience. She is an angel investor and is an Advisor and Board member for several startups in mobile, IoT, internet, and travel.





Amira Learning
Las Vegas, NV
Amira Learning is re-inventing learning to read with AI. Amira is the first intelligent reading assistant able to listen to students read aloud, assess mastery automatically, and provide personalized tutoring. Amira emanated from 20+ years of CMU research and has delivered massive growth in schools around the world.

Miami, FL
Caribu is an education platform that allows any trusted adult to read and draw with children, when they’re not in the same location, through an interactive shared screen video-call. We’re “FaceTime meets Kindle,” for kids!

Boston, MA
Edmit helps families make smarter decisions about the dollars and cents of college. With Edmit’s personalized and data-driven advising, families make educational investments that are within financial reach and set them up for future success.

Boulder, CO
Giide is a mobile application that takes listeners on audio-guided multimodal learning experiences. Each Giide is expert-led, curated by leading practitioners who guide the listener on a series of steps to learn more about a topic or skill. Giides are a lot like a podcast, workshop and walking tour all rolled into one.

Pie for Providers
Chicago, IL
Pie for Providers uses technology to help child care providers build stronger businesses. Our digital assistant simplifies government programs to help providers earn more revenue and spend less time on administrative work.

San Jose, CA
ROYBI is an AI-powered companion robot for kids aged 3-7 in early childhood education and language learning. Over the next few years, ROYBI plans to increase the number of languages it can teach and to expand content to STEAM learning activities.

Tokyo, Japan
SoroTouch supports children to obtain the world’s fastest mental calculation ability with the world’s most efficient way, and enable them to gain confidence in numbers which is the only common language in the world.

Chicago, IL
Upkey is the world’s first student incubator. Our learning platform helps students become more polished and ready for the professional world. We support the retention, placement, and professional development outcomes for educational institutions. Our mission is for a more diverse, inclusive world where opportunities are not limited to the privileged.

Presented by


Cloud Credits


From machine learning and data management to containers to productivity tools, Google Cloud for Startups helps startups build, scale and grow with the tools they need. Through mentorship, training and free credits, Google Cloud for Startups enables early-stage startups to get up and running quickly and easily. Google is excited to provide all finalists with Cloud credits. Finalists will receive the Spark Program ($20,000 in Cloud credits) and the Launch competition winner will receive the Surge Package ($100,000 in credits). Learn more about Google for Education partner programs and apply here for Cloud credits.

Discover More

Launch History

Learn more about the history of the Launch competition and browse a full list of past startup finalists, winners, and judges.

Learn More

Launch Schedule

Browse the full lineup of Launch events scheduled for SXSW EDU and star them for your personal schedule.

Explore Schedule

More Competitions

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