Announcing Dorm Room Fund’s Investment in 101
Dorm Room Fund is excited to announce our investment in 101, an edtech startup that is increasing student engagement in college STEM classrooms with tools for active learning.
This past fall, the 101 team launched Chem101, which allows chemistry professors to send problems that their students complete on personal devices during lecture. For example, one module allows students to draw and submit structures of molecules right on their smartphones. Chem101 was successfully piloted at 8 different schools including Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, and the University of Cincinnati.
Unlike clickers or other classroom response tools that use generic multiple choice questions, 101 builds subject-specific modules with intuitive ways for students to learn and interact with problems. Students get automated feedback on their answers and professors see what their entire class is drawing in real time so they can promote a class discussion about common mistakes.
Why DRF Invested
Our team was impressed by the experience Justin Weinberg (Co-Founder, CEO) and Igor Belyayev (Co-Founder, CTO) brought to the table. Justin’s long-time experience as a chemistry tutor and teaching assistant (he’s a PhD candidate in chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon) and Igor’s experience as a mobile developer for companies like Jet.com, Viacom, and The Huffington Post are only just the start.
We loved how Justin and Igor had both previously worked on an education app, Chem Pro, which gained over 500,000 downloads organically — validating the education market they’re tackling. This experience showed us that Justin and Igor had the right combination of experiences, skills, and insight to crack the edtech space.
The results speak for themselves. A survey conducted after the Fall pilot with over 1100 student responses showed that:
- 88% of students agreed that Chem101 helped them learn Lewis structures
- 77% indicated that they preferred using Chem101 over any existing course tools, i.e. clickers
- 40% of students agreed that using Chem101 increased their interest in chemistry after using the product for just a 2–3 week portion of the curriculum.
Finally, we’re excited to be investing in another Carnegie Mellon startup. This is our third investment in a CMU company, and we’re excited to further strengthen our relationship with the CMU startup community!
Learn more about 101 by visiting their website here. 101 is also in the process of raising an angel round of investment and hiring developers to expand Chem101’s curriculum support. If you’re interested, you can reach out to them here: firstname.lastname@example.org.