New Profit Portfolio Organizations Presenting at SXSW EDU 2023

February 16, 2023

If you’re heading to SXSW EDU this March, make sure to check out sessions led by some of New Profit’s current and alumni entrepreneurs.


March 6


Big Picture Learning

Session: “Building Youthforce in Middle School”  March 6, 1-2 p.m. CT

Work-based learning opportunities have traditionally been reserved for college students and maybe even high school students. But middle school students? Come meet up with us and learn about a new pilot that overcomes the barriers to providing experiential learning experiences to middle schoolers in Boston. Hosted by ASA, we will discuss best practices in partnering with communities and businesses to build relationships that welcome students to workplaces where they can begin a successful future.


    • Andrew Frishman, Big Picture Learning
    • Letta Neely, Apprentice Learning

Transcend Education

Session: “Collective Dreams for Liberation: Educator Meet Up”  March 6, 4-5 p.m. CT

Do you have dreams of what learning and liberation could look like if we had the resources, time, and support to build school differently? You’re not alone; we do too. This meet up, hosted by Transcend, provides a welcoming place for dreamers to meet and connect at SXSW EDU to share our collective visions of that future for our communities. Make new friends, find new collaborators, and take advantage of an opportunity to network with like-minded dreamers.

March 7



Session: “Launch Startup Competition”  March 7, 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. CT

The SXSW EDU Launch Startup Competition provides a platform for entrepreneurs seeking feedback, investment, strategic partnerships, and exposure, to present their early-stage company before a panel of industry experts, early adopters, investors, and educators as well as the live SXSW EDU audience.

2023 Finalists:
EduOpenings // St. Louis, Missouri
Kide Science // Helsinki, Finland
Promineo Tech // Peoria, Arizona
Robotical // Edinburgh, Scotland
Tilli // Sri Lanka
Koalluh // Atlanta, Georgia
Equmenopolis, Inc. // Tokyo, Japan

The live competition will be emceed by Divya Gokulnath, co-founder of BYJU’S. The finalists will be judged by a panel including Shalinee Sharma, CEO & co-founder of Zearn; Frances Messano, CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund; and Tequilla Brownie, CEO of TNTP.

Finalist of the Launch Competition will be coached by Catherine Eng, co-founder and CTO of OurWorlds, Inc.; Riyaz Gayasaddin, vice president of program and talent at Camelback Ventures; and 2021 Launch winner Amrutha Vasan, COO & co-founder of Inspirit Learning, Inc.

Winners of the competition will be announced at the Launch Competition Spotlight.


    • Tequilla Brownie, TNTP
    • Divya Gokulnath, BYJU’S / BYJU’S Education For All
    • Frances Messano, NewSchools Venture Fund
    • Shalinee Sharma, Zearn

ASU Local at Arizona State University

Session: “Empowering College Hopefuls Through YouTube”  March 7, 2:30-3:30 p.m. CT

People spend a lot of time on YouTube learning about every subject under the sun. This discussion covers a project that makes ASU college courses available for credit for the first time through YouTube, providing aspiring college students with a new, flexible and accessible pathway to a degree. The partnership called Study Hall meets learners where they are and is the destination for college hopefuls to understand how to navigate higher education, explore fields of study and begin earning credit for their first year of college.


    • Maria Anguiano, Arizona State University
    • Danielle Bainbridge, Northwestern University
    • Hank Green, Crash Course
    • Katie Kurtz, Google

Urban Alliance

Session: “Creating Unique Partnerships to Uplift Communities”  March 7, 2:30-3:30 p.m. CT

Partnerships are key to creating measurable positive outcomes for young people and exponentially increasing impact for communities. Beyond the classroom, work-based paid internships, on-the-job mentoring, hands-on skills training, and professional development can lead to economic mobility. This panel of experts will share how they are building public, private and nonprofit sector partnerships to provide young adults equitable opportunities to earn a living wage, and make lifelong connections.


    • Michael Akin, Link Strategic Partners
    • Bertina Ceccarelli, NPower Inc.
    • Abiodun Durojaye, Urban Alliance
    • Michael Strautmanis, Obama Foundation

Transcend Education

Session: “Building Towards Possible: The Freedom Dreams Lab”  March 7, 4-5 p.m. CT

In 2021 Transcend launched Freedom Dream Labs, a fellowship for BIPOC entrepreneurs launching liberatory education models. These models reflect a commitment to community-driven design, centering marginalized perspectives and providing space for active self-direction and relevance in learning. The session will highlight these innovative learning models, the impacts of Freedom Dreams Lab and emerging insights associated with scaling innovative design and supporting BIPOC entrepreneurs.


    • Toni Barton, Spelligent
    • Nicole Campbell, Ownership Is The Future
    • Lyric Flood, Transcend
    • Nakeyshia Kendall Williams, MindCatcher

Big Picture Learning

Session: “Leadership Journeys”  March 7, 7-10 p.m. CT

We invite educators of color, and allies of the equity in education movement, to join exceptional system-level leaders who embrace the notion that sharing deeply personal stories is the path forward toward collective dopeness. This multi-media, DJ-fueled collaboration replaces turntables with slide decks, but without the sacrifice of soul.

Please note: This event has limited capacity. Please reserve your space as soon as possible! Please plan to show up at the start of the event, otherwise your space may be allocated to waitlisted attendees.


      • Host – Carlos Moreno, Big Picture Learning
      • Panelists – Dena Simmons (Founder, LiberatED), Frances Messano (CEO, New Schools Venture Fund), & Christopher Emdin (Professor or Education; Robert A. Naslund Endowed Chair, University of Southern California)
      • MC – Timothy Jones, Hip Hop Ed; DJ – Mickey Breeze

March 8


Aurora Institute

Session: “CompetencyWorks PCBE Meet Up”  March 8, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. CT

Join us to connect with Aurora’s network in the field of student-centered learning and K-12 personalized, competency-based education. We’ll explore how communities of innovative practice are fundamentally rethinking education through learner-centered, competency-based pathways and personalized learning. Discuss the latest trends and issues in competency-based education and share connections in your own work, network, and brainstorm about how to advance this vision for the future of education.


      • Laurie Gagnon,  Aurora Institute
      • Susan Patrick, Aurora Institute

Aurora Institute and Big Picture Learning

Session: “Designing Credentials for Innovative School Models”  March 8, 1-2 p.m. CT

The twin goals of equity and efficacy require K-12 school models that are personalized, skill-based, and interdisciplinary, but traditional transcripts are ill-suited to capture the richness of these approaches. How can we design transcripts and records that empower learners to share their unique strengths, abilities, and goals? In this panel discussion, organizations that support innovative schools will share insights and lessons learned from their credential design efforts.


    • Mike Flanagan, Mastery Transcript Consortium
    • Susan Patrick, Aurora Institute
    • Andrea Purcell, Big Picture Learning
    • Mary Ryerse, XQ Institute


Session: “Roundtable: Launching & Running an Education Startup”  March 8, 1-2p.m. CT

Advance sign-up is required. Please locate the “RSVP” button on the page to reserve your spot. If you are unable to RSVP, there are walk up slots available and we encourage you to check in at the start time and put your name on the list.

An extension of our popular Mentor Sessions, our Roundtable Sessions allow attendees to learn from experts and leaders from across the education landscape. Attendees will learn from the mentors that sit at each of the three tables in this session, but will also learn from the questions and experiences of their peers. This Roundtable will offer diverse perspectives and thoughtful discussion on launching and managing an edtech startup.

Online signups will open in February. Registrants who sign up online must check-in 30 minutes before the session to guarantee their spot. Walk-ups will be allowed onsite if there are any dropouts.


      • George Damian, press PLAY
      • Jessica Falkenthal, Jessica Falkenthal & Associates
      • Heejae Lim, TalkingPoints
      • Erin Lydon, Poker Power, a PEAK6 company
      • Brent Maddin, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University
      • Reshan Richards, Explain Everything

Zearn and Saga Education

Session: “Unlocking the Power of High-Impact Tutoring”  March 8, 1-2:00 p.m. CT

Tutoring initiatives have sprung up nationwide as a way to curb pandemic-related learning loss. But what if tutoring isn’t a short-term fix but an enduring feature of the U.S. education system? Could online or hybrid models yield strong results while keeping costs sustainable? This session explores cutting-edge research and on-the-ground implementation of evidence-based tutoring programs that improve outcomes for all students, particularly those historically excluded from such services.


    • Lisa Coons, Tennessee Department of Education
    • Antonio “AJ” Gutierrez, Saga Education
    • Kevin Huffman, Accelerate
    • Shalinee Sharma, Zearn

Interested in connecting with the New Profit team at SXSW? Learn more about our events here