Nov 27

InSITE Team Project Update: Improving the State of Education with TeachBoost

When I watched the final presentations in the InSITE mentoring selection process I was really excited about a lot of startups, but one company in particular really grabbed a hold of me: TeachBoost.  The team crushed it on their pitch, clearly identifying a real problem with a sizable market opportunity — and more importantly how their solution can improve education.  This semester a lucky few InSITE fellows were able to help Teachboost think about and prepare for some upcoming challenges.

What is TeachBoost?

Schools use TeachBoost every day to conduct classroom observations and walkthroughs, prepare formal and informal teacher evaluations, and analyze specific teacher performance and development over time. We can get your school up and running the same day and you can use TeachBoost easily, quickly, and securely on any device you prefer—from laptops to netbooks, smartphones to iPads. 

On campus with TeachBoost

Don Kim assembled the team with Emily Casey, Nir Sandbank and myself, Brian Galgay, to help out.  Directly from the first meeting, we were able to set the goals for the semester with 3 specific goals: pricing optimization, business development and government grant availability (who doesn’t like free money?!?). Over the course of the semester, TeachBoost worked with the team on weekly meetings that helped further shape the direction of each of the three goals.

The pricing effort suggested a move away from flat pricing to a per-seat pricing model, tiered into groups reflective of the different school sizes.  This way, smaller schools aren’t over-buying, and larger schools can have the features and support SLAs they will need.

In the business development effort, the tasks forked into market size and customer acquisition.  The market sizing exercise considered the suggested pricing change, from per school to per teacher.  In this model, the simple number of institutions morphed into a codified system, including private school concentrations, competitive school districts and other viral-sales enabling identifiers.

Free money! TeachBoost is already revenue generating and not currently seeking venture-funding, but free money is — well, free money.  However, the political season that concluded during the semester added contextual fuel to the government dollars in play. Newer programs, such as national educational standards and President Obama’s “Race to the Top” initiative, make seeking out grant money an opportunistic no-brainer.  While grant applications can be intensive, the few that we discovered that TeachBoost are eligible for are more than encouraging.

TeachBoost has a bright future in front of it, and it was exciting to be part of the process in some small way this semester.  I certainly will keep in contact with the team going forward.

This post was written by Brian Galgay, MBA 2014 NYU Stern School of Business 

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