(d.school fellow 2013-2014)
A serial entrepreneur and 10-time Ironman finisher, Guido Kovalskys has founded four companies in the last 15 years. Those companies cover a broad range of industries -- everything from classroom education to entertainment, from health care to adventure vacation destinations. Guido's most recent venture is Nearpod, which he co-founded in 2011.
Rather than replace the teacher, Nearpod was developed to turn mobile devices into teaching assistants. The platform lets teachers broadcast lessons to students, interact with them via their devices and collect data on student performance through quizzes, polls and drawings. The app has registered 200,000 teachers who have used the platform to deliver over 2 million lessons in just over a year.
Prior to Nearpod, Guido co-founded Bionexo, a leading platform for hospitals and other health-care institutions to purchase services and supplies. The company, founded in Brazil, now operates in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Spain. Guido also co-founded and owns The Island Experience, which offers adventure-style vacations in Brazil.
In 2003, he founded and led Panarea Digital. The company specialized in education technology and grew to include a team of 40 people. Revenues grew to $2 million with Disney, Barnes & Noble, American Express, LeapFrog and other companies working in collaboration. Guido left Panarea in 2011 to spin off Nearpod as an independent company.
Guido's parents and sister are academics, and he always had a theoretical curiosity and passion for school but not for the life of an academic. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Buenos Aires and his MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. Guido went on to work for McKinsey & Company in San Francisco before launching his entrepreneurial career.
As a d.school fellow, Guido wants to explore the fundamental cultural values of creativity, working and development free of the strictures of running a company full time.
“I’m very excited about the idea of going back to learning mode again,” he says. As the founder of an education startup, he hopes the Silicon Valley mentality is contagious as he undertakes the challenge of learning more about how people learn. The opportunity also gives him a chance to act on advice he received from his father: to always take an opportunity to change the variables in one’s life.
For Guido -- a proud father himself -- the d.school fellowship is one of those chances.
Follow Guido on Twitter at @guidonearpod