Here’s a challenge: How do you create a startup to teach critical thinking skills to kids? Now, an even deeper challenge: How do you convince investors to back you ?
ThinkCERCA is an online platform focused on literacy. It’s for 4th through 12 grade students. It’s received about $1.5 million in seed capital from angel investors, and funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
ThinkCERCA’s founder, Eileen Murphy, was a teacher for 20 years in Chicago public schools and then became the director of Curriculum and Instruction in the public school system. She came up with a method for helping students make claims, support their claims with evidence from text, explain their reasoning, and address a counter argument. Not to shock you, but this was done with paper, pencils, graphic organizers and rubrics.
Murphy knew she needed technology to scale the idea. That’s when she met co-founder Abby Ross, who at the time was running a web design and development startup. ‘I was like, “Sure, we can do this.” I’m passionate about education, both my parents are teachers.’