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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Searching For Tradition: What Google Searches Reveal About College Trends

What does it mean for distance learning institutions when tech-savvy college students turn more and more towards traditional universities? Recently, searchenginewatch.com released an article revealing a rise in education-related inquiries. While, Search Engine Watch goes in depth about what this means for college marketers, there are important ideas regarding the modern academic as well.

Investigating what searches say about universities. (Photo Source: Danard Vincente http://www.flickr.com/photos/danardvincente/)

Investigating what searches say about universities. (Photo Source: Danard Vincente http://www.flickr.com/photos/danardvincente/)

While the search increase for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is notable, the growth in searches on educational information from traditional universities is far more interesting. Related to this is the rise in geographic searches for schools and the diminishing use of the word “online.”

Campuses: a physical hub for learning. (Photo Source: uvuphotos http://www.flickr.com/photos/uvuphotos/)

Campuses: a physical hub for learning. (Photo Source: uvuphotos http://www.flickr.com/photos/uvuphotos/)

Potential students seem to more actively seek colleges that provide a system of support, hinting at the growing dropout problem perpetuated by issues of unpreparedness and a disconnection from peers.  Students require some degree of interaction to achieve a successful college life, and the search trends reflect this need.

Students are starting to look for learning among peers. (Photo Source: velkr0 http://www.flickr.com/photos/velkr0/)

Students are starting to look for learning among peers. (Photo Source: velkr0 http://www.flickr.com/photos/velkr0/)

While the debate is still out on the effectiveness of distance learning, we may see a greater degree of interaction between the campus and online components of traditional universities. If the recent search numbers are any indication, students are not just looking for accessibility: they’re looking for community.