In January 2015, Melissa Risteff had little more than a dream to match students with their perfect careers in science and technology. One hundred days later, she had developed an app and taken it to nine classrooms.
Now, the 46-year-old CEO of Denver-based Couragion has another reason to celebrate: The startup received a $750,000 grant through the National Science Foundation on Feb. 24.
Risteff said Couragion will use its funding through the next two years to conduct research with students in classrooms and add features to the app.
“Some of the work we’ll be doing is creating new tools to improve teacher and parent engagement in the process of career exploration and readiness,” Risteff said.
Couragion helps students and educators learn about existing careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Through the app, students take quizzes, play games and watch videos to figure out which careers fit best.
Couragion costs $30 per user for an annual subscription, but is discounted for schools or through school districts purchasing multiple subscriptions, Risteff said.
The NSF’s Small Business Innovation Research grant helps small businesses and startups research, design and make products. Couragion’s initial $150,000 and subsequent $30,000 grants from the NSF made it eligible for last month’s SBIR Phase II award for $750,000.