AT&T Awards 8 Distance Learning and 5G Startups in its 2020 Aspire Accelerator Class

Companies in this year’s Aspire Accelerator class are focused on everything from building applications to help students develop social-emotional skills, to teaching science through online gaming, to increasing engagement through virtual reality.

All 8 startups in this year’s $1 Million Skills Building Challenge are working on unique solutions during this unprecedented moment in education. With an estimated 55 million students1 learning remotely due to COVID-19 school closures, teachers, parents and students are looking for fresh approaches from innovative sources, precisely what this class of companies are focused on.

When the 6th annual Accelerator begins next week, even that will differ from previous years – the regular kick-off meeting in San Francisco will be replaced with virtual introductions online.

“These companies are maturing at a moment when the entire education landscape is evolving,” said Matt Hickey, vice president, AT&T Global Public Sector, and a mentor to this year’s cohort. “They’ve got to consider the challenges and opportunities presented by distance learning and the prospect of students splitting their education between the classroom and home. We’re going to help them navigate this change and further develop solutions applicable in either scenario.”

In addition to mentorship opportunities with leaders in fields such as finance and marketing, this year’s Accelerator cohort will explore 5G with AT&T experts, specifically how the wireless technology may enhance educational outcomes and reach more students. The 35 previous Accelerator participants, which combined are reaching more than 32 million students and have raised more than $48 million since participating, also will be offered access to AT&T’s 5G leaders.

The Accelerator was created in 2015 as part AT&T Aspire,  a $550 million commitment since 2008 that leverages technology, relationships and innovation to improve education and prepare students for career success.  Program participants have included 70% women-led companies and 51% minority-led companies.

Meet the 2020 AT&T Aspire Accelerator class2:

  • Almost Fun (501(c)(3)/Brooklyn, New York) reinvents test prep for underserved students by providing questions based on culturally relevant news, relatable situations, and the careers of diverse professionals.
  • Fiveable (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) supports high school students after school with AP exams, college admissions and social-emotional skills through livestreams, community discussions and interactive content.
  • GiveTHX (501(c)(3)/San Francisco, California) builds student wellbeing and school culture using digital thank you notes to recognize positive behaviors that nurture relationships.
  • Immersed Games (Buffalo, New York) helps students through online gaming to build science literacy by directly engaging with science phenomena through hands-on experiences, like collecting data to determine if something is an invasive species. 
  • KlickEngage (Miami, Florida) empowers students to report their emotional state daily and receive the support they need more efficiently, in order to feel safe and supported in every environment.
  • Purpose Project (501(c)(3)/San Francisco, California) builds much needed 21st century skills such as creativity, self-direction and community contribution in youth and young adults through a curriculum and digital platform.
  • Social Cipher (Los Angeles, California) creates video games that give players who are autistic a safe space to practice social situations and build social-emotional skills through play.
  • TechRow Inc. (New York, New York) aims to solve the disengagement challenge in classrooms by leveraging immersive technology such as virtual reality.

AT&T’s broad coverage 5G is available to more than 120 million people across 190 markets with plans to offer service nationwide this summer, and our ultra-fast mobile 5G+ is now live in parts of 35 cities.

1 According to information provided by Education Week

2 Descriptions of the companies are based on information provided to AT&T and not representations made by AT&T. 

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