Founder Friday: AI Guided Learning with Context

Team: Dror Margalit, (NYU Tisch, MS ‘24)

About the Venture: An AI-powered learning platform that allows artists and designers to learn creative coding through interactive experiences tailored to their learning goals, needs, and preferences.

Q: What problem does Context aim to solve?

A: Code is intimidating. When artists and designers want to advance their careers and learn coding, they face a psychological barrier. Many of the one-size-fits-all online learning experiences don’t provide the personal support that a beginner needs in order to learn. The learners feel frustrated and many times give up, thinking “I can’t learn this.” But what if the learning experience was tailored to cater to each individual’s learning needs?

Context is an AI-powered interactive learning platform that allows artists and designers to learn coding in the way most suitable for them. We start every learning journey by understanding who the learner is, what their goals are, and what their previous experience is. Then we use AI to identify each learner’s needs and generate entire learning experiences (from learning plan to content) accordingly. This learner-centered approach allows us to ensure that every learner gets their definition of a positive learning experience.

In the future, we plan to take this approach to more fields and become an AI university, where every learner receives the unique learning experience that will allow them to succeed on their own terms.

Q: What inspired you to take this step into entrepreneurship?

A: The short answer is: creating a lot of value for a lot of people, and the long answer is: my parents. We live in a time where there are so many problems in the world and there is only so much we can do as individuals to influence them. Yet, as an entrepreneur, I feel that I can create a positive impact on many people. For me, creating a startup that makes quality education accessible to more people means empowering them. The positive impact of an educational startup extends beyond its users to the people that they interact with and the communities that they participate in.

The idea of creating value through entrepreneurship did not originate from my current startup. Growing up, I saw how my mom created an architecture firm from the ground up while raising 4 children. My dad was a tech entrepreneur who pioneered computer security systems. Observing both of them, I could see firsthand the challenges and effort that go into growing a business. But I also saw how much value it adds to people’s lives.

Q: What sets your venture apart from what’s on the market right now?

A: The key aspect that sets Context apart is that we leave no learner behind by providing each user what they need for a positive learning experience. When hundreds or thousands of people enroll in the same online class, many of them are going to feel left out thinking, “I can’t learn this,” which is why we see more than a 90% incompletion rate for online courses. Context, however, doesn’t let that happen.

Because we use AI to learn about each learner and generate every bit of their learning experience, each one gets exactly what they need to succeed. In other words, the entire learning environment is adaptive to create a positive and effective learning experience. Does the learner need more time to practice a concept? Context will generate more exercises. Did they demonstrate that they are already familiar with a certain topic? Context will skip over to ensure they only learn what they truly need. Do they prefer reading? Hands-on activities? Videos? With immediate feedback and constant support, no learner is left behind, and the entire learning experience is crafted to ensure effective learning and high satisfaction.

Q: What has been the biggest turning point for you in your startup journey?

A: Being part of this NYU Challenge. The access that we’ve had to industry mentors and the other resources that the Berkley Center has provided have been instrumental to us in preparing for our fundraising round. Having already launched the product, we’re in a position to really take advantage of everything the program has to offer.  It feels like we’re getting the help we need to make this work.   

Q: What motivated you to apply to the NYU Entrepreneurs Challenge? What are you hoping to gain from the experience?

A: Entrepreneurship does not occur in a vacuum. I could have the most wonderful idea in the world, but it could not grow without the help of others. That’s why I applied to the NYU Entrepreneurs Challenge. I wanted to be a part of a community of visionary innovators. To support and be supported by people who make great things and create value.

Q: What has been the biggest turning point for you in your startup journey?

A:There was no one big turning point, but a series of smaller steps that helped us get to where we are today. When we started working on this venture we had a main vision in mind: to become an AI university. As we started working on it, we realized that we couldn’t build an AI university overnight. So we had an “aha” moment when we narrowed down who our initial target users would be. And we had multiple “aha” moments when we started testing different prototypes and saw what the users were excited about. 

Q: What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced so far in building your startup, and how have you overcome them?

A: I face the biggest challenge in building our startup every day when I wake up and work on it. It’s not one big moment such as a launch or fundraising. It’s the uncertainty that comes with developing something that doesn’t exist. The AI space is changing rapidly. The EdTech market is extremely competitive. When I wake up every morning, I need to somehow convince myself that, despite the uncertainty, I’m doing the right thing.

Often, I remind myself that there is this vision in my head of an invention that I believe will create a lot of value for a lot of people. To make it into reality, I need to take small steps that will help us go forward. The uncertainty will now go away, but when I listen to our initial users and test every step I take, I can de-risk many aspects of the business plan and solution.

Q: What are some milestones you are working towards? How has it been reaching them?

A: We are launching a pilot at an NYU class, where 100 students are going to use our platform as part of their learning experience. The pilot allows us to test parts of our MVP before making it available to more people. Once we complete our initial testing, we plan to launch the MVP and get more traction. competitive. When I wake up every morning, I need to somehow convince myself that, despite the uncertainty, I’m doing the right thing.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those just starting out?

A: You don’t need to fully build the product to test whether people will use it. Instead, you can build something to test certain aspects of your idea, such as, if people are interested in it or if they are willing to pay for it. By testing out different aspects of the product with your initial target customers, you can quickly get a sense of what works and what doesn’t. These testings will help you find a path to go forward.

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