Pooja Sankar contacts professors individually to talk to them about Piazza, her Web site that hosts course-related question-and-answer sessions.
Meet the Ed-Tech Start-Ups
It's a golden age for educational-technology start-ups. The past three years have seen a spike in venture-capital investment in upstart companies, many founded by entrepreneurs just out of college. Last month The Chronicle outlined the trend ("A Boom Time for Education Start-Ups"), but we wanted to dig deeper.
Below are short features on three such companies, focusing on the problems they hope to solve and the challenges they face in selling their unusual ideas. To get a sense of the emerging field, we've included a list of a dozen other start-ups competing for a piece of the action.
Pooja Sankar may eliminate the need for professors to hold office hours, or to endlessly respond to student questions by e-mail.
Ms. Sankar, a recent graduate of Stanford University's M.B.A. program, leads a start-up focused on finding a better way for college students to ask questions about course materials and assignments online. Her company, Piazza, has built an online study hall where professors and teaching assistants can easily monitor questions and encourage students who understand the material to help their peers.