Wilmingtonbiz logo
Print
Technology

Startup Experience Lands HUGO Co-founder In Larger Startup Pond

By Jenny Callison, posted Jul 24, 2014
Alex Vidor’s start-up has perhaps not taken him in the direction he planned, but it definitely launched him on an entrepreneurial path.

Raleigh-based Lea(R)n, an early-stage company that aims to bring quality control to education technology, announced Thursday that it has hired Vidor to help with client engagement.  The principal attribute that made Vidor attractive to Lea(R)n:
The experience he gained from starting his own education technology-related company, HUGO Network.

HUGO, which began as Social Pathway Solutions in September 2012, was an app designed to help teachers reliably recommend online resources and mobile applications to their students. The mobile app-sharing platform enabled users to build a trusted network through which those recommendations could be shared.

Vidor’s startup, renamed HUGO, has been a tenant at University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) since before the center officially opened last September. In addition to having space in a collaborative environment, Vidor and his collaborators participated in business development and networking opportunities provided by the center.

Those opportunities led to Vidor’s meeting and eventual hiring by Rectanus, the founder of Lea(R)n, which he describes as a clinical trials company for educational technology.

“I first met Karl after looking for education tech mentors through LinkedIn and Twitter,” said Jim Roberts, executive director of the CIE. “I do not have experience in that space so I needed to bring in some help. Karl has been to Wilmington a few times to mentor our entrepreneurs.”

Roberts explained that he introduced Rectanus to Vidor as a potential mentor through the CIE’s “Office Hours” program, in which entrepreneurs meet with mentors and service providers.

His serendipitous meeting with Vidor would not have happened without the mentor matchmaking services of Roberts and the center, Rectanus said. Although there were differences in focus, the two startups had much in common.

“We’re using data science and teacher feedback to bring quality control to the educational community,” Rectanus said, calling his fledgling company’s work “clinical trials for educational technology.”

He said the trials’ results will give teachers an objective way of determining what kinds of digital and other technologies will most benefit their students. Lea(R)n’s recommendations will also help school administrators make purchasing decisions in a tight budgetary environment.

The new company is accepting educators for its free, private beta, Rectanus said.

Thanks to a couple of major developments, Lea(R)n will be keeping Vidor busy.

The startup recently won a $50,000 NC IDEA award and Thursday, announced its selection as a 2014 Kaplan Ed Tech Accelerator participant. The startup was one of 12 companies selected for the program, out of an applicant pool of 500, Lea(R)n’s news release stated.

The accelerator is a “three-month intensive, mentor-driven, deep immersion program,” according to the program’s website.  Each of the 12 participants receives a $20,000 equity investment from Techstars, an optional $150,000 convertible note from Kaplan, access to Kaplan instructional design resources, mentorship from experienced business people, feedback from Kaplan students and access to Kaplan’s network of school districts and university partners.

Lea(R)n is not acquiring HUGO Network, Rectanus said, but he believes that the missions of the two companies are close enough that, even though HUGO will cease to exist, Vidor can pursue his dream through his new employer.

“Alex could get to his goals of providing value for educators and have an impact by joining our team,” Rectanus said. “Anybody who knows him knows that he’s passionate and will bring energy to solve real problems. And through Lea(R)n, he will continue to engage with the educational community to solve problems.”

Join The Discussion

Similar Stories

In The Current Issue

Similar Projects Fall In Mayfaire’s Steps

Ten years later, developers of major master-planned, mixed-use projects in the Wilmington-area don’t expect to duplicate Mayfaire Town Center exactly, though their concepts include some of the same elements.

Area Adds To Event Venues Inventory

Colonial-style gardens and a quaint courtyard at the circa- 1771 Burgwin-Wright House are now available for rent, adding to a number of new ...

Mayfaire At 10

While Mayfaire Town Center marked its 10th anniversary earlier this year, the impact of the Mayfaire development as whole – its town and com...

Ico topnews Editor's Picks

Real Estate Award Winners Announced

Cece Nunn - Nov 18, 2014

New Fashion, Gift Store Opens In Porters Neck

Cece Nunn - Nov 25, 2014

Cucalorus Scores In Coolness Category While Attracting More Films, Attendees

Jenny Callison - Nov 24, 2014

Do Good Real Estate Sues Founder, New Firm He Started

Cece Nunn - Nov 24, 2014
Insurance Brokers

James E. Moore Insurance Agency, Inc.

The James E. Moore Insurance Agency was founded in 1954 and since that time has continued to be one of the Independent Insurance industry’s leaders in bringing quality products to our clients across t ...more

Ico trending Trending News

Ico newsinimages News in Pictures

Have a tip, pitch or guest column?  Send us a tip.

Gallery Galleries

Video Videos

Power Breakfast Series - Special Sauce for Economic Development - March. 2014
WilmingtonBiz Expo Keynote - Ken Lowe - Founder HGTV, CEO Scripps Networks - March. 2014

Register to Continue Seeing Wilmington's Best Business Coverage!


There are three ways to register for free.

Sign in with LinkedIn, Facebook or create an account:



Already registered? Login here.

Your free registration includes:

  • Access to 10 articles per month on WilmingtonBiz.com
  • Email updates to stay informed on local business news
  • A mobile optimized website
  • Advanced notification of Business Journal events
  • Management of your digital and print subscriptions
Laptop iphone ipad