Announcing Launch Startup Competition & Student Impact Challenge Finalists for SXSW EDU 2024

SXSW EDU 2024 Launch & Student Impact Challenge Announcement

New year, new announcement for SXSW EDU 2024!

We are thrilled to announce this year’s finalists for the Launch Startup Competition and Student Impact Challenge. Selected from the largest applicant pool to date for both competitions, these finalist and semifinalist teams feature innovative approaches in education such as improving different literacies, solutions to climate change, advances in student wellbeing, and much more in the education space.

Along with the finalists, we are proud to share this year’s judges and emcees, who play an integral role in both competitions, as well as the coaches who will be guiding the finalists as they prepare to take the stage in March.

Launch Startup Competition

The Launch Startup Competition, presented by the Walton Family Foundation, champions early-stage education startups focused on impacting the future of education. This year’s finalists will showcase a range of innovations that focus on improving math learning at an early age, literacy, language learning, culturally relevant learning, mental health, academic research, and SEL.

Five national and two international finalists will be pitching their startups to the panel of judges and a live audience, competing for three awards awarded at the Launch Spotlight.


Culture Crate (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Keenious (Tromsø, Troms, Norway)
Maro (Bozeman, Montana)
NaTakallam (New York, New York)
Shoelace Learning (Lake Loon, Nova Scotia, Canada)
Struggly (Austin, Texas)


Lost Abroad (Los Angeles, California)
LUCA (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Mili Llama (Denver, Colorado)
Peerbagh (Austin, Texas)
Playbl (New Haven, Connecticut)

Judges & Emcees

Taking the judges’ table are experts Kristen DiCerbo, Chief Learning Officer of Khan Academy, Joanna Cannon, Fellow at the Walton Family Foundation, and Carlos Moreno, co-executive director of Big Picture Learning. Evan Baehr, managing partner at Learn Capital, and Taniya Mishra, founder and CEO of SureStart, will emcee the competition.


The 2023 Launch Startup Competition award winners Kavindya Thennakoon, co-founder and CEO at Tilli, and Varun Gulati, co-founder and CEO at (formerly Koalluh), will be returning in 2024 as coaches. They will provide support to the finalists by sharing their experience and advice in the lead-up to the competition.

Student Impact Challenge

The Student Impact Challenge, presented by The Allstate Foundation, celebrates what youth leaders are doing to improve facets of society through projects and solutions they develop to address social, economic, and environmental issues. This year’s finalist projects address improving STEM education, wildfire prevention, improving financial literacy, closing the digital literacy gap, managing abnormal vision development, and reducing carbon emissions.

The Student Impact Challenge evolves the work of the Student Startup Competition of years past with the aim of celebrating student achievement in a timely global context.

Four national and two international finalists will be competing for the Student Impact Award presented at the Student Impact Ice Cream Social:


Clore (Mountain View, California)
Faça Parte (Be A Part) (São Paulo, Brazil)
Girley (New York, New York)
ReAlign (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)
STEM IT (Frisco, Texas)
The GoGreen Filter (Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania)


A Sustainable Future (Rockaway, New Jersey)
Care Connected, Inc (Austin, Texas)
Project B.L.A.C.K (Brooklyn, New York)

Judges & Emcee

Judging the inaugural Student Impact Challenge are Sabari Raja, managing partner at JFFVentures, Greg Weatherford, program officer of Youth Empowerment at The Allstate Foundation, Ehsan Zaffar, executive director at The Difference Engine, and Zoë Jenkins, senior advisor of the Kentucky Student Voice Team. Miss Texas 2022, lawyer, and activist Averie Bishop will be emceeing the competition.


Rubén Cantú, executive director at The University of Texas Office of Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship will be one of the coaches to this year's finalists, providing support and helping them prepare for the stage.

Don’t miss your chance to watch these finalists compete live on the Next Stage in the SXSW EDU Expo. Mark your calendars for the Launch Startup Competition on Tuesday, March 5, and the Student Impact Challenge on Wednesday, March 6.

Don’t Miss Out On SXSW EDU 2024

Register and book your hotel today to break new ground in education through compelling sessions, in-depth workshops, mentorship, film screenings, trailblazing competitions, a dynamic expo, networking opportunities, and so much more at SXSW EDU from March 4-7, 2024.

Be the first to know of any information leading up to the event through Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Threads, and our newsletter.

SXSW EDU 2024 Launch Startup Competition and Student Impact Challenge judge and emcee photos provided by the participants.

By Auva Saghafi