48-Hour Launch: Learning Edition winners aim to help educate, solve problems

Authored By chloe.morrison

The top winner of this past weekend’s 48-Hour Launch business pitch competition has a project that is going to allow music educators and students to collaborate remotely. 

Musician and local businessman Jonathan Susman’s idea is called Adagio, which is an online mixing application based on code developed by members of UTC’s computer science department. 

The software changes the way instructors manage curriculum and offers a new mechanism for improving student performance and compositional skills. 

The app will allow music students at any expertise level to connect with teachers online, access curriculum, record practice sessions, get instructor feedback and share performances via social media. 

And Susman said he and his team are going to work with leaders at The Public Library to make the vision a reality. 

“We are going to create a music lab on The Second Floor [of the library],” he said. “That will be a space for everybody and a testing ground for the application itself.”

This weekend’s event focused on workforce development and education. After working all weekend, teams pitched their ideas Sunday night. 

The 48-Hour Launch competition started in 2009 and is hosted by leaders of The Company Lab. 

The weekendlong competition challenges teams of entrepreneurs and specialists to spend 48 hours taking a concept from a startup idea to a viable business model or prototype.

Winners get some startup money and business services. 

Mike Bradshaw, executive director of The Company Lab, said that the event helps grow the city’s entrepreneurial community. 

“This year, the Learning Edition cast new light on what those connections can do for our area,” he said in a prepared statement. “Over the last two days, we saw educators and businesspeople combine their skills and perspectives in some very meaningful ways. This is collaboration in its richest form, and we believe the opportunities it inspired will have a lasting impact on our community.”

Susman said he has had the idea for a while, but when he heard about the focus on learning, the education component became very important to him. 

He spent most of the weekend working on his pitch and how to explain the idea to judges, he said. 

And he said he didn’t fully realize the scope of benefits that The Company Lab and 48-Hour Launch have until he participated in the event.

“The opportunity to create and the incredibly brilliant minds you’re surrounded by through the weekend-there’s nothing like it,” he said. “I’ve never experienced anything like it, and this city is really lucky to have this.” 

Other winners were Jean-Marie Lawrence, who pitched an idea called Access-U, and Kendal Shipley and Chris Green, who pitched 36 University. 

Access-U is a nonprofit idea that connects high school juniors and seniors with physical disabilities to colleges that are best able to meet their needs.

The organization aims to make information about postsecondary information easily available to students with disabilities.

36 University is a research-based ACT prep provider that helps students translate success in the classroom to success on the test by offering an online training program and using short videos to teach an ACT-specific curriculum.