Pitching to a fifth grader: How 3 Chicago companies get kids excited about tech

by Andreas Rekdal
October 7, 2016

The best way to foster a healthy tech ecosystem is to get kids excited about technology early.

That is one of the founding principles of coding nonprofit Code.org, whose mission to bring computer science into classrooms has drawn praise from the likes of Cheryl Sandberg, Bill Gates and President Barack Obama.

While the impact of hands-on experience can't be overstated, it's also important to get kids excited about the things they can do with technology. To give you some guidance in inspiring the young people in your life, we asked three of Chicago's most innovative tech startups how they would pitch what they do on career day.

 

How would you explain your technology to a fifth grader? 

“Our software enables people to make predictions about the future, usually about what people are going to do,” said Director of Engineering Jenny Farver. “We call it software for data science, because, like other science, we collect and use data to help our users understand the world. Often, data science requires sophisticated computing and math and our software makes those things easier so that more people can approach problems like scientists.”

What makes it awesome?

“Data science is changing how humans work together to make big decisions and solve problems — it's a new way of doing things,” Farver added. “What could be bigger or more fundamental than that?”

 

How would you explain your technology to a fifth grader? 

Label Insight helps shoppers learn more about the products they buy at the grocery store,” said VP of Marketing Kira Karapetian.

“We take the information on the packages of products, then organize and expand on it, making it easier to understand,” she added. “We can tell you exactly what ingredients are in the products you buy, why they are in the products and how the products are made. We help you know way more about products than what is on the package, and we think this helps you make smarter, healthier choices about what to eat and what to buy when you are shopping.”

What makes it awesome?

"We believe we can help millions of people make better food choices by helping the industry become more transparent,” said co-founder and VP of Customer Intelligence Dagan Xavier. “How can you not get inspired by a cause like that?"

 

How would you explain your technology to a fifth grader? 

Veritas Health is a web publisher, specializing in articles, blogs and videos on the muscles and bones of the human body and the conditions that affect them,” said Digital Engagement Manager Nicolette Kittinger. “Our websites are built in a way that allows us to share our content faster and more reliably than other publishers — and make it easier to find on our sites and on search engines. Our websites and our content work together to let search engines know how helpful our content is, so searchers see it before other stuff.”

“The most important part of what we do, though, is help people,” she added. “Everything we put online is to help people live healthier, pain-free lives. Our technology allows us to be among the most trusted, recognized, and easiest-to-find health publishers in the world.”

What makes it awesome? 

“Technology is always changing, which gives you something new to discover and experiment with,” said Senior Technical Lead Rob Malon. “Each new discovery adds a tool to your belt and allows you to use them in creative ways so that you can create something more spectacular each day. Technology also has has many areas of specialization. Choose your favorite and work is less ‘work’ and more fun.”

Images via listed companies.

Do you know of a company we should cover? Send us a tip or tweet us @BuiltInChicago

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