Catapult A platform for accelerating education

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  • Product & platform strategy

  • Naming

  • Messaging & Copy

  • Brand development

  • Website design & development

  • Image production

  • Video direction & production

Catalyst @ Penn GSE, an innovation center at the University of Pennsylvania, engaged the Foundry as early stage strategic partners in creating their new virtual EdTech accelerator – an online platform designed to help diverse entrepreneurs improve the efficacy of their products and to transform outcomes for both students and investors.

Two years into our relationship, we’ve envisioned a research-centered ecosystem of tailored learning experiences, mentor engagement, and community building. Working with the Catalyst team, the Foundry has named the platform, crafted a brand architecture and visual identity, supported the acquisition of funders and content partners, produced registration funnels that have attracted hundreds of entrepreneurs and advisors, successfully launched the beta platform, and managed the phased rollout of features.

  • 800+ registered ventures

  • 100% engagement benchmarks exceeded

Section 1.Building the vision

Across diverse stakeholder groups – UPenn, Penn GSE, and Catalyst leadership as well as content partners, advisors, and entrepreneurs – we provided candid, strategic counsel, expert facilitation, and creative energy. Together, we shaped the vision for the platform, defined critical MVP priorities, crafted the road map, and sprinted into design and development.

Smart phasing

We worked closely with the Catalyst team to establish clear priorities, presenting a carefully crafted phasing plan to quickly launch a minimum viable platform (MVP) and road map for feature evolution. Like the startups within the accelerator, Catapult has to prove its worth to secure each successive round of support and funding. 3 years in, it's still growing.

The Foundry team has brought mission alignment, deep experience, and attention to detail to our collaboration. Three years in, they continue to act as true strategic and thought partners, helping us think creatively and technically, and then delivering beautiful work that delivers the results we’re after.

Photo of John Gamba
John Gamba Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Catalyst @ PennGSE

Section 2.Tailored to perform

Neither our team nor Catalyst rest on early success. We rapidly responded to user input and data analysis to refactor code and revamp the user experience and interface of the platform – driving additional performance gains on the live platform even as we continued rolling out new features and content partnerships to add value for members and advisors.

Hitting MVP targets

Like any startup, the platform is held to high performance standards and expected to achieve or exceed key benchmarks.

Section 3.Built to evolve

The Catapult platform will expand to include six activity hubs ranging from mentorship and evaluation to community interaction. To support phased platform maturation, we leveraged emerging technology like Hasura to streamline query logic, simplify role and permission architecture, and accelerate build times – all while delivering robust administrative controls for the Catalyst team.

Section 4.The path to progress

For all its strategic complexity and technical accomplishment, Catapult is a journey for entrepreneurs seeking research-centered guidance to power their venture. We captured that essence in an elegant visual identity, abstracting performance graphs to evoke community and progress.

Aligning brands

We helped Catapult carve its own niche while respecting the established guidelines of the school’s parent brand. The power of Catapult’s identity lies in how it leverages and represents the University of Pennsylvania through a fresh, autonomous expression.

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