AT&T Aspire Accelerator

The $1 Million AT&T Skills Building Challenge

We're on a mission to use technology to enhance learning and help every student achieve a bright, successful future.

Technology is making it easier for people to learn anytime, anywhere. Wireless connectivity, applications and services are increasingly providing new opportunities to connect people to the skill development needed to get and retain good jobs.

Over the last five years, the Aspire Accelerator has supported organizations that use technology to help students increase learning achievement, strengthen schools and communities, and prepare learners for employment.

The 27 participants from the 4 previous classes are currently reaching more than 22 million students and have attracted more than $35 million in funding after AT&T’s investment.

Program participants have included 63% women-led companies and 44% minority-led companies. Over half of the participants come from non-traditional tech hotbed cities.


  • Jan 7

    Applications Open

  • Feb 1

    Applications Close

  • March 2019

    Applicants Notified

  • May 2019

    Program Kick-off

  • Dec 2019

    Demo Day/Graduation

Applications Open

Applications are now closed, and will reopen for the next class beginning in January 2019.

Applications Close

Application must be submitted by 11:59pm EST (8:59pm PST) on January 27, 2018.

Applicants Notified

All applicants will be notified of their application status in March.

Program Kickoff

Work with the Aspire Accelerator team to lay out your goals for the program and how we can help you achieve these objectives.

Demo Day & Graduation

Pitch your product or service to investors, AT&T executives and education stakeholders.

The 2019 Accelerator Class



Boston, MA

AllHere replaces outdated responses to chronic absenteeism with an online attendance improvement operating system that identifies barriers to attendance, delivers personalized interventions and analyzes the results.


Brooklyn, NY

Cognitive ToyBox saves teachers up to three hours per week, shortens the feedback cycle from assessment to instructional adjustment and enables more objective data collection through a game-based assessment platform.


Brooklyn, NY

UPchieve  (501(c)3) provides free 24/7 STEM tutoring to underserved high school students, offering late-night homework support and test prep to help motivate them to finish high school and pursue rewarding careers.


New York, NY

WeThrive (501(c)3) helps teachers increase classroom engagement, real-world learning and future-readiness by creating student-run companies that earn real revenues through a web and mobile app.


Kansas City, MO

Boddle Learning helps teachers identify learning gaps and differentiate their students’ learning styles quickly and accurately, using gameplay to boost student engagement and capture more actionable data at the same time.


Madison, WI

Sidekick Education (501(c)3) uses artificial intelligence to reinvent the high school internship as an in-class project, so any classroom can help close the STEM skills gap.


Minneapolis, MN

UR TURN drives student and parent engagement through a goal-setting and progress-mapping tool with a visualized tracking dashboard. Setting and achieving goals correlates to college and career readiness.


Fort Worth, TX

WildCards serves as a low-cost, easy-to-use electronic programming product designed to help students learn about coding, electronics and engineering while developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Accelerator Benefits


Aspire Investment

$100,000 AT&T Aspire investment and an additional $25,000 to cover costs associated with the program.


Customized Program

Access to expertise, services and relationships tailored to each organization throughout the 4-6 month program.



Connect with AT&T and external mentors from the education and technology ecosystems.


National platform

Be a part of the broader AT&T Aspire initiative, which is committed to driving innovation in education on a national scale.


Flexible Location

No relocation necessary. Unlike other accelerators, an organization does not have to move to participate in the Aspire Accelerator.



Receive access to a dedicated Entrepreneur in Residence, UI/UX design services, and opportunities to participate in education conferences.


Miami, FL

A platform that allows any trusted adult to read and draw with children, through an interactive video-call, no matter how far apart. Learn more>

Newark, NJ

A nonprofit that empowers youth of color to heal from systemic oppression trauma with support via text message. Learn more>

New York, NY

A program that uses multimedia content to develop social skills and strengthen emotional intelligence in PreK through high school. Learn more>

Oakland, CA

A nonprofit that creates customized training, resources and information substitute teachers need to be successful, delivered online. Learn more>

Boston, MA

A revolutionary learning tool that combines STEM education with physical play. Learn more>

Lithonia, GA

A nonprofit that teaches students how to combat fake news, identify media bias and create positive content. Learn more>

Washington, D.C.

A platform that makes it effortless for teachers to integrate music into lessons. Learn more>

Arlington, VA

A web application, mobile app, and prospective hardware device to track independent reading and motivate students to read. Learn more>

Oakland, CA

A cloud-based platform that reinvents small group learning through personalized curriculum and texts. Learn more>

Palo Alto, CA

A website where students can crowdsource career advice by asking questions that are answered by an online volunteer corps of working professionals. Learn more>

Seattle, WA

An app that uses voice analysis and machine learning to provide teachers with personalized data about their instruction to help them improve it. Learn more>

Denver, CO

Creators of NBA Math Hoops, a board game, mobile app and community program that builds fundamental math skills through engagement with NBA and WNBA player statistics. Learn more>

Berkeley, CA

An app that enables special education teachers to measure individualized student performance, analyze learning trends in real-time and share progress on demand with districts and parents. Learn more>

Brookline, MA

A platform that curates engaging audio stories from public radio and wraps teaching supports around them, allowing teachers to assess students’ listening skills. Learn more>

Oakland, CA

Creators of Lumen, an app that gathers mobile usage data and converts it into actionable intelligence for parents, providing focused reading support. Learn more>

Pittsburgh, PA

A cloud-based platform that engages teenagers in programming and STEM subjects through game design. Learn more>

Boulder, CO

provides monthly subscription to coding projects that teach grade-schoolers to program apps.
Learn more>

Athens, GA

this interactive case study software has students acting like scientists, learning science concepts and honing problem solving skills.
Learn more>

Washington, DC

a free digital platform that helps teachers find and plan engaging lessons and track student progress in reading.
Learn more>

Denver, CO

an engaging app that exposes students to STEM careers using videos, games and self-reflection quizzes.
Learn more>

San Francisco, CA

a nonprofit software service and mobile iOS and Android app that guides and motivates community college students by using customized nudges to take actions and engage in behaviors proven to help them graduate faster.
Learn more>

Chicago, IL

an online platform connecting teachers with on-demand teaching assistants to grade and provide thorough feedback on student work.
Learn more>

Raleigh, NC

an education innovation firm providing a research-backed, online platform & services for educators and their organizations to know and manage the technologies that are best for their classrooms.
Learn more>

Oakland, CA

a financial wellness innovation lab empowers the next generation of Americans with financial capability skills.
Learn more>

Washington, DC

a platform (web & iOS) that lets teachers create and share interactive video lessons.
Learn more>

Brooklyn, NY

a nonprofit literacy tool that builds students’ grammar skills through personalized writing and proofreading activities.
Learn more>

San Francisco, CA

a multilingual texting platform that connects teachers, families and students via mobile technology.
Learn more>

Board of Advisors

The Aspire Accelerator’s primary objective is to foster the Education Technology ecosystem and support innovative new products and services in education. The Aspire Accelerator’s Board of Advisors supports the program and shares our mission for social impact.

Charles Best
Founder and CEO of

Charles Best is the CEO and Founder of, a nonprofit organization which provides a simple way to address educational inequity. At, public school teachers create classroom project requests and donors can pick the projects they want to support. For more information on Charles click here.

Kimberly Bryant
Founder of Black Girls Code

Kimberly Bryant is the Founder and Executive Director of Black Girls CODE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “changing the face of technology” by introducing underrepresented girls to the field of technology and computer science. For more information on Kimberly click here.

Elizabeth Corcoran
Co-Founder and CEO of EdSurge

Elizabeth “Betsy” Corcoran is co-founder and CEO of EdSurge, an award-winning news and information source on education technology. EdSurge delivers weekly newsletters for educators and entrepreneurs, as well as the industry's most comprehensive index of edtech products, and runs conferences around the country where educators and entrepreneurs meet on common ground. For more information on Betsy click here.

Nancy Lue
Co-Lead, Advanced Research & Development Education Fund

Nancy Poon Lue is currently co-leading the exploration of a national advanced research and development education fund on behalf of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. She is also a Partner and Secretary of the Board of Directors of the venture philanthropy organization Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2). Previously, she served as Executive Director of the venture capital firm Global Silicon Valley (GSV) and Senior Advisor of the U.S. Department of Education. For more information on Nancy click here.

Daniel Lurie
Co-Founder and CEO of Tipping Point

Before founding Tipping Point in 2005, Daniel Lurie worked for the Bill Bradley Presidential Campaign, Accenture Consulting and the Robin Hood Foundation in New York City. September 11th 2001 fell within Daniel’s first week of work at Robin Hood and he was humbled to witness Robin Hood’s relief efforts to lift up the city. For more information on Daniel click here.

Ramona Pierson
Head of Learning Products, Amazon

At the age of 22, Ramona Pierson was hit by a drunk driver while running and spent 18 months in a coma and 11 years blind. She relearned everything from breathing and seeing to walking and smiling. From this experience arose the drive to build companies where personalized learning and relearning were the center of all products. For more information on Ramona click here.

Sebastian Thrun
Founder and President of Udacity

Sebastian Thrun has set his sights on democratizing higher education. Founder and President of Udacity, Sebastian is also a Research Professor at Stanford University and a Google Fellow, as well as the inventor of the autonomous car and project lead on Google Glass. For more information on Sebastian click here.

Mentor Network

Photo of Kwame Anku

Kwame Anku

Founding Principal, Black Angel Technology Investment Fund

Photo of Ashley Beckner

Ashley Beckner

Principal, Omidyar Network

Connect on LinkedIn
Photo of Maria Choi

Maria Choi

Founder & CEO, Raise for Good

Connect on LinkedIn
Photo of Rohan Wadwha

Rohan Wadwha

Associate, Exceed Capital Partners - Education Growth Investor

Photo of Jeff Livingston

Jeff Livingston

CEO, EdSolutions, Inc.

Connect on LinkedIn
Photo of Ian Lotinsky

Ian Lotinsky

CTO, LearnZillion

Connect on LinkedIn
Photo of Craig Peters

Craig Peters

CEO, Awasu Design

Photo of Debbie Stephens Stauffer

Debbie Stephens Stauffer

Principal, Atrium Capital

Photo of Diana Stepner

Diana Stepner

VP, Product Management - Learning Applications, Pearson

Connect on LinkedIn
Photo of Julia Stiglitz

Julia Stiglitz

Vice President, Coursera

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