New York, NY / Halifax, NS — EdTech startup Pressto enters a new phase of expansion, naming Kieran Sobel as Chief Product Officer (CPO) and Dan Winston as Chief Operating Officer (COO). Pressto is deploying a technology-based solution for writing instruction, and Dan and Kieran will lead the development, launch and distribution of the innovative products.
Pressto is focused on creating a fun and rewarding writing environment for both students and teachers. Pressto marries the knowledge of its educators with the technical ingenuity of its product developers and engineers, who have a proven track record of leveraging and scaling classroom technology.
“At Pressto, we are inventing a proprietary technology-based solution for personalized writing instruction, and we have brought in Kieran and Dan to lead these efforts,” said Pressto Founder and CEO, Daniel Stedman.”
Kieran Sobel brings to Pressto over a decade of developer experience, including serving as Chief Technology Officer for EdTech unicorn Newsela. He explains, “The writing tools that teachers use today do not provide an authentic and engaging space for students to learn the foundational elements of clear writing. I am excited to leverage our expertise in design, pedagogy and technology to offer teachers a product that focuses on such fundamentals.”
Dan Winston brings extensive operations and leadership experience, including several C-level roles on the executive team in seven years at Newsela. His prior experiences includes sales and operations consulting at other start-ups and large districts including NYC DOE. Dan describes his view of the opportunity for Pressto: “Based on feedback both from educators and from EdTech executives who serve as our advisors, we plan to demonstrate how Pressto will be a pivotal change in K-12 writing instruction, away from a focus on learning the mechanics of cumbersome word processors and a return to the components of great writing to help meet state writing standards.”
Pressto’s prototype, tested in real classrooms, validated its assumption that Pressto’s unique approach to the student experience can get kids to want to write more. It now has a proven team to build a best-in-class K-12 writing environment for classroom instruction that will expand across subject areas, ages, languages, and continents.
Pressto’s initial product focuses on its free-to-all Junior Journalism Program in conjunction with mayors’ offices across the US and Canada.
Soon, Pressto will announce its in-classroom free product. It will add an interactive teacher panel and new, proven feedback tools for students and teachers. Pressto’s software will prepare students for a future of work where “creator skills'' like publishing, sharing and audience development are critical to success.
Stedman added a sneak peek to Pressto.AI, its writing subscription product, in design for a 2023 launch. “When we demonstrated the prototype for component-focused Pressto.AI to educators, their reaction was so overwhelmingly positive that if we can convert the lab version to a classroom product, we will have vastly underestimated Pressto’s market potential. Every single school will use Pressto rather than word processors from Google or Microsoft as their core for writing instruction.”
Writing is a key part of every state’s ELA standards, yet teachers do not have the tools to teach great writing. Writing is often taught on scraps of looseleaf or in unengaging word processors that do nothing more than correct for grammar and spelling.
Pressto and Pressto.AI focus on writing instruction and will help schools and districts actually meet state ELA standards and will not be limited to just word processor spelling and grammar checks that do nothing to teach kids how to write. These failures are borne out by data:
Only four states met the NAEP Proficiency standard for upper elementary ELA in the most recent pre-COVID report. In 20 states, fewer than 35% of students were proficient.
To learn more about Pressto, please visit www.joinpressto.com.
Pressto was founded in 2021 by Daniel Stedman, the co-founder of Brooklyn Magazine and Northside Media. Pressto develops proprietary educational technology that is designed to transform the way writing is taught and learned in the digital classroom. Pressto provides an environment that makes writing fun and purposeful for students and time-saving and easier for teachers. Pressto’s Junior Journalism Program provides students with real-world, project-based learning opportunities in conjunction with local Mayor’s offices, and was acknowledged as an honorable mention in the Education Category of Fast Company’s 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards. To learn more, visit www.joinpressto.com.
Pressto has received funding from Tidal Venture Partners, Copper Wire Ventures, Lightspeed, Volta, ACOA, and angels including Wray Thorn (Clear Heights Capital), Dan Carroll (Clever), Ann Berry (Threadneedle Ventures), Jacob Zachs (Forage), Chris Yeh (Blitzscaling Ventures) Alex Rappaport (Flocabulary) and Stephen Kramer (Bright Horizons).