Scholar Hero’s Presentation at Google Pittsburgh: Thrival Innovation 2013

Founder Lee Ngo pitches to an audience at Google Pittsburgh on 9/7/2013. Photo courtesy of No Typical Moments (www.notypicalmoments.com)
Founder Lee Ngo pitches to an audience at Google Pittsburgh on 9/7/2013. Photo courtesy of No Typical Moments (www.notypicalmoments.com)

Has it really been a week since our company’s first major presentation to the Pittsburgh technology
and entrepreneurial community?

After several all-night preparations and collaborations with other teams incubated in the Hustle Den, an incubator owned and operated by Thrill Mill, Inc., we pulled off what felt like the impossible: a concise 5-minute pitch at Google Pittsburgh demonstrating our proof of concept. Here’s a clip of the presentation (scroll to the 1 hour, 17 minute, 36 second mark for our presentation):


Video courtesy of Thrill Mill, Inc. (www.thrillmill.com)

Lamentably, the video does not do the presentations justice. It is amazing how much our companies have grown over the last several months. In our case, we were little more than a handful of good ideas that needed to be refined into a bona fide company. For our successes, we must thank Thrill Mill for the opportunity they’ve given us as well as the countless people who have contributed to our development along the way.

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Founder Lee Ngo poses with founders Rachel Bane and Jimena Quan of Mix: a salad-themed restaurant for the Pittsburgh community (photo courtesy of Scholar Hero)

Still, we have a long way to go. A few more milestones ahead include:

  • Overhauling the landing page to reflect our new direction
  • Creating a public beta version of our product
  • Securing some early seed funding to help us support that beta
  • Expanding our network via social media (especially this blog)
  • Solidifying our core founding team
  • Generating that first dollar of revenue
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How we do after a long day of pitching: The Thrival Music Festival (photo courtesy of Scholar Hero)

Keep an eye on this blog and our landing site http://www.scholarhero.com for more updates!

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Lee Ngo is the founder and executive director of Scholar Hero, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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We’re All Scholars: Broadening the Scope of Our Company

Scholar Heroes Lee and Mike, reporting for duty. (Photo courtesy of http://theworldbelongstothosewhohustle.com)

We we began this journey to be “Scholar Heroes” months before we even called ourselves that. We wanted to improve academia for the better and invent new tools that would change the way we create knowledge forever.

Then the obvious question struck: who exactly are we trying to help?

We limited ourselves to the plight of those who pronounce themselves to be in the academy: graduate students, doctorates, post-doctorates, new faculty, and so forth. We remain convinced that their concerns are paramount to the continued success of knowledge production in our nation and beyond. However, as we engaged with other people in the university environment, we realize that our scope has been far too narrow.

What about the plight of….

University students?

Such attire is permissible if and only if you’re about to launch a multi-billion dollar company. Also, kids, don’t drop out of college.

Many members of our own team express the same concerns that their teaching assistants and professors do: hyper-competition, a lack of collaboration, an absence of support. These problems are exacerbated by other factors such as the size of the school as well as the presumed prestige of the institution in itself, but virtually every student shares these experiences.


High school students?

He aspires to attend Oxford or the Sorbonne, with Harvard as his safety. Also, he’s one of the worst students at his school.

The competition to get into a top university has never been greater, and prospective applicants must ensure that they are able to catch the eyes of these admissions committees. Moreover, even if students do get admitted, several studies show that these many seem to lack the fundamentals necessary to perform adequately

International students?

Source: PhD Comics (www.phdcomics.com)

More and more students now come from abroad to earn that highly coveted United States-accredited degree. These students provide a wonderful opportunity for the international academic community to grow their networks and strengthen their knowledge base. However, typically these students possess impressive skills in one field yet show a dearth in another, leading to a frustrating experience for both students and instructors.

The list of groups that could potentially benefit from Scholar Hero go on, but for now, we’ve decided to build our first product with the interests of these three in mind in addition to our primary group. In other words, we’re looking out for Scholar with a big S, the precocious knowledge seeker who constantly inquires, perpetually distributes, and relentless improves upon their body of knowledge.

Support Scholars. Accelerate Knowledge. Somehow that phrase rings louder than it ever has before.

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How can we help you?

 

What it Means to Be a Scholar Hero: A Mission for 2013

Our new name.

Our new name.

It’s been nearly three months since our last post, and so much has happened since then. To give you a quick list of the major events of our project:

  • Incubation: We were selected as one of the finalists for the Business Bout, a competition run by The Thrill Mill, a Pittsburgh not-for-profit that wants to get involved with the booming start-up season. Our reward was a full-year of incubation, which includes free rent, legal support, and access to the business “in-crowd” in Pittsburgh. Suffice to say, we’re pretty ecstatic about that. Our participation was even recently featured in the Pittsburgh Business Times, among other news outlets.

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    Our new home.

  • Incorporation: With the security of incubation, we moved forward and finally became incorporated in the state of Delaware on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of this year. However, we remain fully committed to exercising our business here in Pennsylvania and contributing to the local and state economy.
  • Identification: We changed our name. Formerly (and informally) known as “Academica” from Startup Weekend, we changed the name to Scholar Hero and incorporated as “Scholar Hero, Inc.”

The last one needs a bit more elaboration. In a sentence, we wanted to be search-friendly, and masquerading under a “.me” domain wasn’t helping our chances. Some people complained that they couldn’t find us, and others even wondered if we wanted to be found. Thus, we went back to basics and collectively came up with a name that encapsulated our mission completely: Scholar Hero.

Unlike these gentlemen, we’ll honor our Prime Directives.

Our “Prime Directives” remain the same:

  • Create a space for scholars to collaborate in a positive and potentially fun manner
  • Reduce some of the excessive, sometimes exploitative costs that come with participating in the academy
  • Make the overall life of the scholar a much more manageable one

We also have a few more productivity goals that we aim to hit:

  • To go into private beta by June 2013 at the absolute latest (we’ll create a wait-list for this very soon)
  • To go into public beta by September 2013, meaning we’ll be accessible to everyone
  • To do at least a weekly post (now that we have your attention) on this blog

So what does it mean to be a Scholar Hero? Follow our site or get in touch with us and we’ll find out together. We’ve got a lot of work to do, and if you’re willing to join us, contact us here. We’re looking to fill a lot of positions and maybe increase our partnerships, which you can find out about at our Careers page.

“Let’s get hustlin’.”

Lee Ngo
Founder and Executive Director
Scholar Hero