Formative (formerly SmartestK12)

Third Place 2014

By Craig Jones, CEO

We had a really amazing time at SXSW, although the best story is the fact that I was still a grad student at UCLA and this was during finals week.  So I literally flew in on a redeye late the night before, slept in the airport, snuck into the hotel spa where I took a shower, and then presented only after convincing another team to help me advance my slides.  I then went home right after on a train to San Antonio and then cheapest return flight.  I really didn't get to enjoy much but I did have phenomenal conversations and met great people.   Saying we beat out some Y Combinator alums and a team with a million dollar kickstarter campaign was cool, too.

After HATCH pitch, we graduated from school and really hit the ground running that summer.  Ultimately we got accepted into the premiere education technology accelerator (Imagine K12) and became Formative ( where we just released our real-time formative assessment platform to the public this month.  We also raised nearly $1M in funding and have experienced incredible daily growth -- even today we nearly doubled our previous record of student responses on our system.

Advice I would give to HATCH pitch finalists is just to network with everyone and to enjoy SXSW.  We didn't get to enjoy the event, but it’s magical and the opportunity is a great one to promote the hell out of your product.

So what’s next for Formative?  Formative is quickly becoming the real-time formative assessment platform.  Check out our website and you will quickly see that we are building incredibly technology in a simple and effective way for the modern classroom.  Now, teachers no longer have to wait to see which students are struggling and can immediately intervene in real-time, in the moments when it matters most.

We may be at SXSW as we are thinking about heading to SXSWedu, but regardless of whether or not we are there in person, we have a lot of teachers that you may see wearing Formative shirts and sharing their love for our product.