UpGo – How’d It Start, What’s the Mission?
We’re super excited you’re interesting in learning more about UpGo, an education and technology (EdTech) company on a mission to empower today’s youth with life skills!
As UpGo’s founder I often get asked about the company’s origins and how we came up with our unique business. I thought in this post I’d share a bit about how UpGo came to be and what we are working to accomplish.
Back in my freshman year in college, I became interested in LIFE SKILLS education, and the concept of YOUTH EMPOWERMENT, when I began to notice that there was a lot of important non-academic skills that the school system and my home life had not taught me. First, I ran up credit card debt because I didn’t understand interest rates. (“How come my balance isn’t going down?!”) And I spent a year taking college courses that didn’t resonate, because I had little career guidance during high school. And, if I’m honest, my interpersonal communication and emotional intelligence skills weren’t all that well honed. Looking around, I noticed, it wasn’t just me.
I realized that, though newly christened adults had just completed thirteen years of K-12 schooling, the education and parenting systems had some huge gaps. So in my thirties, I began developing a business plan and curriculum to bring non-academic, life-skills teachings to middle and high schoolers via e-learning. But I never pulled the trigger, mostly because I was learning a lot in the corporate world and, frankly, having fun flying all over the place marketing tech products.
Fast forward to today: The problem still exists, unfortunately. Here’s a quick look at the situation.
Reasons young people get very little formal life skills training:
- The school’s curriculum is too packed to squeeze in more topics.
- Most parents can’t or don’t do a good job teaching life skills for a variety of reasons, most of which aren’t their fault.
- Even those that want it, find relatively little life skills education content available.
- The content that’s out there is highly fragmented over the web, and its quality varies greatly.
- Most existing content talks to the adult (train the trainer style), which is harder to implement than content that talks directly to the student. And,
- Almost none of the content is optimized for the mobile platform nor is it delivered in a learning management system that provides accountability (ensures the learning gets done!).
It’s no wonder kids aren’t getting critical soft skills training!
Conversely, check out the opportunity to have an impact:
- There’s more awareness of the life skills education gap.
- Newer technologies and elearning are more accepted in schools and at home.
- Kids are now reachable through their smartphones. And,
- Educational technology (EdTech) is a hot growth sector and getting a lot of needed attention.
So, in 2017, I pulled out the previous business plan and updated it, built a passionate team of like-minded individuals, and established UpGo.
The UpGo mission is the same as it was when it was first conceived many years ago:
Empowering Today’s Youth With Life Skills!
We’ll accomplish our mission by focusing on helping kids, families, schools and youth groups, and providing content and technology to fill the life skills education gap. Put another way, “UpGo apps fill the education gaps.”
The first life skill we are teaching is cyber safety, because it’s become an urgent need (there are SO many problems with cyberbullying, sexting, excessive screentime, online predators, poor decision making, etc.). Cyber safety was also a good first skill to launch, because I could leverage my personal experience with internet safety products and practices and the ten years I worked in the cyber security industry.
Next up, we’ll bring additional life skills topics to the UpGo platform. There are so many really smart and caring adults out there, trying to help young people, let’s call them collectively, subject matter experts (SME) — they’re authors, speakers, bloggers, counselors, therapists, doctors, and the list goes on — that have awesome expertise in a wide range of subjects. But most of their content is not optimized to be delivered via computers or mobile phones, which is where most kids want to consume their learning.
UpGo invested to build a PLATFORM, not just an app. This platform enables 3rd-party subject matter experts to quickly publish their own content and expertise, in the UpGo app or even in their own personally branded app.
Imagine a one-stop-shop marketplace filled with high quality, easy-to-consume learning that empowers today’s youth with life skills! Kind of a cross between Amazon and Khan Academy but for life skills products and services…
Join us and make an impact. Let’s UpGo!
UpGo Founder & CEO