Sure, the latest initiatives from the Teslas, Apples and Googles of the industry tend to dominate the tech news space — and with good reason. Still, the tech titans aren’t the only ones bringing innovation to the sector.
In an effort to highlight up-and-coming startups, Built In has launched The Future 5 across 11 major U.S. tech hubs. Each quarter, we will feature five tech startups, nonprofits or entrepreneurs in each of these hubs who just might be working on the next big thing. Read our round-up of D.C.’s rising startups from last quarter here.
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When it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion, companies in the in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) industries are making strides, but multiple barriers to starting a career in these tech fields still exist. One of those is accessible education, something that many marginalized would-be tech professionals often don’t have access to. Chrysallis.AI co-founder and CEO Anna London wants to change. She started her McLean-based company in response to her own experience in the field of cybersecurity and education.
“As a woman in the cybersecurity [and] technology industry with 28 years of experience, I noticed a huge gender and racial diversity gap. I found myself as the only woman on an all-male team frequently in my career, so I wanted to do something about it by encouraging other females and people of color to join the ranks in STEAM and cybersecurity-related careers,” London told Built In via email.
Her experience as a tech professional made her want to go into teaching to bring more marginalized people into STEAM. However, once she began teaching at North Carolina State University and Flatiron School, she realized connecting with women and students of color wasn’t enough. Her students were still not engaging with the material and often admitted to having imposter syndrome because they didn’t feel comfortable asking questions.
“I found myself as the only woman on an all-male team frequently in my career, so I wanted to do something about it by encouraging other females and people of color to join the ranks in STEAM and cybersecurity-related careers.”
In order to help students better engage and learn, Chrysallis.AI was born as a metaverse learning platform that uses augmented and virtual reality to help students and adults learn skills in STEAM. The company’s mission is to support marginalized learners with its “metaversity.” The SaaS platform is geared toward cybersecurity, but can be customized by teachers for a variety of STEAM subjects.
Unlike other learning platforms, Chrysallis uses machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to adjust curriculums to the pace of individual students. The platform utilizes fluid analytics, adaptive learning and gamification to make education fun and more impactful. This also makes the platform more engaging by offering alternative education models that are specific to each student, increasing the odds that they finish modules.
The company is still in its early stages of development and finding its niche, but is quickly picking up momentum. Chrysallis recently graduated from a Techstars Washington D.C. cohort and added Mikini Williams as COO and co-founder.
The startup currently has its metaversity SaaS model open for purchase by enterprises and individuals. In the future, Chrysallis hopes to work with enterprises that offer employee upskilling.