Few decisions carry more weight than selecting where to attend college and what to study. Our choices often play a pivotal role in determining the trajectory of our lives– financially, socially, intellectually. Google sees over 3.7 billion education-related searches every month. Sure, there are the few tech hotshots that score big and skip out on class before graduation, but the bulk of entrepreneurs hit the books and earn degrees.
Noodle Education tries to make those tough decisions easier. The company’s search and recommendation engine is geared to produce the best information relevant to each individual’s learning needs and desires.
A Smart Search
The Noodle education search engine aggregates information from over 120,000 education providers. Enter in a few search terms, and Noodle asks questions that create context and lead to tailored answers. The process of finding information and making choices regarding education can often take as long as months. Noodle hopes that its searches will direct users to discovering the best-fitting opportunities much quicker.
Whether students need to navigate the options of test prep materials, school information, tutors, study abroad programs, Noodle aims to sharpen the dull labor of locating the right formal and informal providers.
Users can create profiles within Noodle, which allows them to share information with family, friends, and other students. Functioning like an academic Facebook, students can swap lists of schools, save information, and allow others to comment. Taking advantage of the platform’s social component further enables visitors to refine their searches.
In the sharing vein, Noodle takes an interesting, proactive approach to tutoring as well. Students may form groups that identify a tutor they all would like to work with. While tutors fill their vacancies and earn their usual fees, students receive discounted group rates.
The Brain Trust
The competition surrounding education is intense. Be it amongst students vying for admission, institutions trying to draw prospective students, online alternatives challenging the market, identifying the right path to take is growing more difficult for each generation. To help students of all stripes make sense of the different options, the Board at Noodle has schooled some nimble minds.
Before founding Noodle, John Katzman started the Princeton Review, which he ran from 1981 until 2000. He’s also the founder of 2tor.com. His name might sound familiar to anyone who’s prepared for a standardized test. He used to teach SAT preparation to high school students in New York City, but has since become an active critic of standardized testing. 2tor partners with higher education institutions to create online degree programs.
CEO Joe Morgan previously founded Colloquy, an education-tech company. He served as the Head of Strategy at Kaplan. He’s been an executive manager for multinational companies for over 20 years. A self-ascribed “recovering lawyer,” he’s also a member of the Screen Actors Guild.
So far the startup has raised $3 million in angel funding. Noodle graduated from limited beta in May and looks to close Series A funding in the near future. Students will let us know if the company is in fact head of the class.