The mission of Cashtivity is to create digital products that spark students’ entrepreneurial spirits and develop their mindset and skills for success. Since graduating from LearnLaunch, the team has successfully created a new product, Cashtivity for Math, based on the realization that their vision and platform needed to be laser-focused on mathematics first. Math, they believe, is the foundation—along with relationships—of the world around us and a steadfast concentration of the education system. Their new product is not just about math skills but about how students work together to collaborate, ideate, analyze data, and make businesslike recommendations. It encompasses a library of smart, real-world, entrepreneurial project-based challenges for the middle-school math class. Essentially, Cashtivity is innovating worn-out math practices to deliver practical, standards-aligned, teacher-approved lessons that students are excited to work on collaboratively—another tenet of the company’s mission.
The early success of their math product has already brought requests for science lessons, which would support those states who are adopting NGSS. At one pilot school in California, for instance, students participated in Cashtivity’s Price for Kicks Math Challenge, where they were asked to help save Nike from plummeting prices and sales in North America. By creating new shoe designs and estimating the range of sales volumes, costs, and profits of their prototypes, they fulfilled grade-7 standards for learning about mathematical inequalities and range. After the math lesson was completed, however, a science teacher at the school continued the project by having them physically create sneaker soles from rubber to learn about polymers and then turn the soles into rubber balls to be evaluated for their bounciness factor. Cashtivity was delighted with this teacher’s proactive approach.
Since Cashtivity’s completion of the rigorous 3-month pilot evaluation with the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, who entrusted them with their leading STEM classrooms and alliance with the 49ers Foundation, they have been invited to join the multi-district SVEF Unified Contract, which streamlines school and district purchasing of new innovative edtech for some 30+ districts in California. Founder and CEO Marissa Di Pasquale says that the team believes education is an extremely dynamic market and that ed tech companies must constantly evolve and pivot their products. “We will always continue to have R&D as the basis of our company’s operations because it delivers us product innovation…. Being able to adapt to the changing forces and needs is a constant for success—it’s in our DNA.” To keep up with design demands, Cashtivity’s recently acquired Head of UX and Design, Sofia Thompson (a pioneer in designing apps for emotion and for trust), has been working to make the app even more engaging for students and simpler for teachers. Sofia’s stamp on the platform should be visible imminently.
With their customer-facing work being lead in California, headquarters in Boston, and product team in Melbourne, Cashtivity is well on its way to being the global company they envisioned. The team is incredibly excited for 2017, the year they go from beta to launch, and grateful to LearnLaunch and the amazingly supportive and tight group of angels who have supported them during their intensive R&D phase, including Jean Hammond. The growth they’ve experienced has only honed the great sense of responsibility that comes with building curriculum tools that have a powerful role in shaping students’ lives, and this enthusiastic and adaptable team is up to the task.