Q&A with Monica Brady-Myerov, Founder and CEO of Listen Edition

This article is cross-posted from edtechtimes.com, where I currently serve as editor-in-chief.

EdTech Times is running a series of Q&As this week on the companies of LearnLaunchX, which has their first public Demo Day today, Thursday, October 3rd at LearnLaunch.org’s October Meetup in Boston. Companies will present for 5 minutes and then followed up by 5 minutes of Q&A.  This is a great opportunity for local ed-tech aficionados, educators, and entrepreneurs to come meet the companies of LearnLaunchX’s first cohort.

More on these companies at their investor demo day, September 18th:

Monica Brady-Myerov, Founder and CEO of Listen Edition

Monica Brady-Myerov, Founder and CEO of Listen Edition

Company at a Glance:Website:  www.ListenEdition.com                              

Founders: Monica Brady-Myerov

Founded: January 2013

Category: Content

Product stage: Market

Facebook: Listen Edition

LinkedIn company page: http://www.linkedin.com/company/3029333?trk=prof-exp-company-name

Company twitter: @ListenEdition

Other social media: http://www.pinterest.com/listenedition/

ETT: What’s your elevator pitch?

MBM: Your Mom always told you to listen….your boss expects you to listen.  So it’s not surprising that educators have added listening to the new Common Core standards adopted by 46 states.

We are bringing compelling up-to-date stories out of the public radio system and other sources to engage students.  Listen Edition builds proprietary curriculum around the stories, which include objectives, lesson plans and assessment tools all linked to states standards as well.  In the future we will engage students with tools to design and record great stories and help teachers improve methods for teaching a true 21st century skill—listening.

How to Use from Listen Edition on Vimeo.

ETT: What is your company’s core value proposition? What problem are you solving?      

MBM: We are engaging students through listening.   Real world public radio stories make subject areas come alive for students.  In addition, we are solving the problem that the Common Core now mandates the teaching and testing of listening.   There are few tools that help a teacher focus on building critical listening skills.  Listen Edition helps students become better critical listeners.

ETT: Why did you get into this? What drove you to start this?       

MBM: I spent my career as a public radio reporter.  I knew how much adults learn everyday from public radio because they would often tell me.  As my children got older I saw how much they learned as well, just by listening.  They were engaged by the stories.  I thought, why aren’t teachers using this in the classroom?   I asked my daughters’ teachers and learned it was too time consuming and difficult to find the right stories and build lessons around them.  I thought:  I want my daughters to learn from public radio in their school, so I created Listen Edition so that any teacher, anywhere can teach using a public radio story.

ETT: What is the biggest need for your startup? 

MBM: We are growing quickly so our biggest need now is funding so that we can build a larger team to increase content and create more sales channels.

ETT: What should we expect to see from you in the next twelve months?

MBM: Right now we are focused on middle school science and social studies content.  In the next year we will grow our subject areas to cover more content and write curriculum for high school students.  We are also developing an on online listening assessment tool so that teachers using Listen Edition can assess their students’ critical listening skills as part of the program.  By next year we will introduce the Listen Edition Studio, a project based tool that guides teachers on how to help students write, record and edit their own “public radio-style” stories. 

ETT: Which three startups/educators/entrepreneurs do you follow and find interesting?              

MBM: I think Socrative.com is very cool.  Real time assessment is so valuable.  That’s why Listen Edition has added pre-made Socrative quizzes to almost all of our content.  Also I love Benjamin Berte’s mellow approach to the crazy life of an entrepreneur!

I follow StudySync because they are a new way to teach Common Core literacy skills. They meet students where they are – on their devices watching exciting videos.  And they are using some Listen Edition content because they believe in the importance of listening!  Founder and CEO Robert Romano is a visionary in how to engage kids.

I use Balefire Labs at home because I have two middle school students who are addicted to the iPad.  As a parent, I am constantly questioning whether the apps they are using have any educational value.  With Balefire Labs, now I know!

ETT: If you could provide students nationwide with one education technology product, what would it be?           

MBM: Besides Listen Edition… maybe it would be a fitbit for health and nutrition education.  We have an obesity problem in this country so maybe if kids had a better idea of their exercise level and calorie intake, we could solve the problem.

ETT: What do you think are the biggest obstacles in adopting your product/service in the education space?

MBM: The sales channel into schools is long and slow.  I wish that as schools speed forward adopting computers and iPads in the classroom that they give teachers a budget to buy cool new edtech products like Listen Edition!

Thanks to Monica for checking in with us at ETT about her product!  Find out more about Listen Edition at their website:


LearnLaunchX’s Cohort Debuts at Inaugural Demo Day

This article is cross-posted from edtechtimes.com, where I currently serve as editor-in-chief.

Yesterday, seven startups from the LearnLaunchX accelerator made their mark on the education technology community at their inaugural demo day.  Held at the nearly-completed District Hall at the center of Boston’s Innovation District, the startup companies spoke to a packed house of investors, educators, and other ed-tech stakeholders, including Massachusetts’ Governor Deval Patrick, who stopped by to meet the companies individually.

The LearnLaunchX founders pose together for a picture with Governor Deval Patrick.  From L to R: Mark Miller, Eileen Rudden, Jean Hammond, Governor Patrick, Hakan Satiroglu, Vinit Nijhawan

The LearnLaunchX founders pose together for a picture with Governor Deval Patrick. From L to R: Mark Miller, Eileen Rudden, Jean Hammond, Governor Patrick, Hakan Satiroglu, Vinit Nijhawan

The founders at LearnLaunchX were excited about the crowd that gathered to see these companies’ debut.  Founder Eileen Rudden was “pleased to see such broad support from the investment community for emerging ed tech companies.”

Founder Mark Miller invoked Boston’s roots in education, noting that “if there is anything that Boston should lead the way on it is the education and publishing companies of the future.”

“After a few years of planning for the creation of LearnLaunchX, we now see the progress of the first cohort of learning companies,” added Miller.  “This event draws on the investor community in Boston and beyond to support and retain ed tech talent and innovation in Boston.”

Other founders praised the hard work that the companies have put in during their months at the accelerator.  Founder Hakan Satiroglu said, “We are very excited to have had the opportunity to work with such talented entrepreneurs to build our ecosystem together.”

Founder Jean Hammond spoke about the collaboration at LearnLaunchX, saying, “Working hand-in-hand with ed-tech startups everyday gives us here at LearnLaunchX a perfect view to watch the growth and evolution of the education field. We think that innovation such as we see in these companies offers a once in a generation opportunity to revolutionize the way that people learn and make education more effective and available. ”

Monica Brady-Myerov of Listen Edition describes her product to Governor Deval Patrick

Monica Brady-Myerov of Listen Edition describes her product to Governor Deval Patrick

Governor Patrick’s attendance created a palpable buzz at the event, with many eager people awaiting a turn to greet the governor. The LearnLaunchX companies each connected with Governor Patrick at their tables, getting an opportunity to speak with him personally and answer his questions about their products and their progress.  The governor also sat in the main room to catch the pitch for Monica Brady-Myerov’s Listen Edition, a company that curates and creates lesson plans from public radio stories.

LearnLaunchX’s Director of Operations Asad Butt, was appreciative of the individual conversations that Patrick had with the companies, saying, “we were thrilled that the governor was not only able to attend our event but also spent quality time with each of our companies.”

To hear more about the companies, check out this article, and also stay tuned for new Q&As.

To hear from Demo Day attendees, check out this article.

To get a better look, check out our picture gallery.  (Click on an individual photo to enlarge and open the gallery.)