Illustrations thanks to the excellent Leon Williams
We are a team of former educators seeking to answer one question: how can we stop books and resources in low-income school districts, like our home district of Philadelphia, from going to waste?
As educators, policy professionals, and technologists, we are deeply aware that any solution has to address the process change, financial, and governance aspects of the problem. Our technological and business solution has been honed by countless meetings with stakeholders (teachers, principals, district officials, and inventory management professionals) and over multiple rounds of competition, emerging as the winner of Penn's Fels Public Policy Competition and placing second nationally.
We have been part of the EDsi accelerator at Penn's Graduate School of Education (one of 9/300 companies accepted) since June 2015, where we have made excellent connections and have benefitted from the excellent EdTech focused mentoring. We have also developed our MVP in conjuction with PearCircuit, an extremely capable start-up from Purdue University. In testing our MVP in schools, we saw a fourfold increase in inventory speed using the app versus the traditional pen and paper method.
We have been featured in Governing Magazine, PennCurrent, Fels Institute of Government, Penn's Science and Diplomacy Group, and Technical.ly and our very own CEO (Nate Bronstein) and COO (Rob Alterman) addressed the NIGP Forum in Kansas City, MO.
SmartTrack is a mobile application that relies on Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to scan ISBNs, serial numbers, and asset numbers, populating a database with the location, condition, and current utilization of each item without the need for any supplemental input process. Once inventory is taken the first time, SmartTrack will send push notifications and reminders to check inventory, giving schools the ability to engage in a fast, easy cycle count to aid in loss prevention and regulatory compliance.
For the user, this means:
Nate is a former teacher from North Philadelphia; he earned his Masters in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and is currently earning his second and third masters in Social Policy and Public Administration respectively. Nate has spent the last year working as both the Co-Founder of two DC based startups working to solve inefficiencies in how people connect and organize, and as an Education Consultant working to analyze state-wide education programs in Delaware. He is a Philadelphia native and has a long history of youth civic engagement having become a Truman Finalist, the campaign manager of a political campaign and the student body president of American University in 2011.
Brittany is a former high school history teacher, and an alumnus of Saint Joseph's University. Following her time as a teacher, Brittany worked for non-profit organizations that advocated for social justice in Central Africa, and has had multiple experiences working and living abroad. She is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.
Rob is a former Kindergarten teacher and alumnus of both Teach for America and the University of Arizona, where he earned a degree in Linguistics and Italian. He has additional experience in non-profit consulting and institutional performance analysis, and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Public Administration at the University of Pennsylvania.
Soheil is a postdoctoral associate in electrical and computer engineering at Cornell University. He obtained his Master's and PhD in electrical and systems engineering from Penn in 2013 and 2015 respectively, and his BSc in electrical engineering from Sharif in 2010. Soheil is also a founder of Res Novae Partners, a strategy consulting startup at Penn focused on the pharmaceuticals industry. He has served as the Co-Chair of Penn's Graduate Case Competition and as the organizer of Penn's ESE graduate colloquium.
Tony earned his Bachelor's in Political Science and East Asian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. A South Philadelphia native, Tony's experience with local Philadelphia students as a martial arts instructor and as a teaching assistant at Lea Elementary School motivated him to become a mentor, promoting youth civic engagement. His passion for activism for race and ethnic conditions in Philadelphia led him to being a panelist in the "Journey Home Community Forum: Discovering the Conditions of the Vietnamese Community in Philadelphia."
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