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Digital learning apps are replacing traditional team playbooks. Learn to Win is shepherding in that change.

The app helps train players; it may also assist the U.S. armed forces.

Digital learning apps are replacing traditional team playbooks. Learn to Win is shepherding in that change.

Learn to Win co-founders Andrew Powell and Sasha Seymore raised $4 million in seed money.

Photo: Learn to Win

Coaches previously taught their players either in person during practices or with film analysis, plotting Xs and Os on a whiteboard. But since the spread of coronavirus, contact player time has been limited or nonexistent for most teams.

Learn to Win is an active learning platform that streamlines training for high-performance teams and has changed practicing measures. After officially launching in January 2019, the company has assisted more than 100 athletic programs that halted in-person practices as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Co-founders Andrew Powell and Sasha Seymore just raised $4 million in seed funding from Norwest Venture Partners. They plan to use their new funding to broaden product awareness, expand platform capabilities and extend into new industry categories, starting with first responders and health care companies.

"We're impressed with the team's demonstrated success with athletics and defense organizations and the platform's ability to enable learners to preempt mistakes before they happen in or on the field," said Jeff Crowe, managing partner at Norwest Venture Partners.

The Learn to Win co-founders spoke with Protocol about how they plan to use their app to expand their services to the armed forces, and what happens once people go back to work.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

What specific ways do you both plan to use investment from Norwest?

Powell: Norwest invested in the belief that we could really revolutionize how teaching and learning happens starting in high-performance areas, but eventually changing the learning and technology space. And by having over 100 clients in sports and three contracts with the U.S. military, I think that we demonstrated that there is real demand for our product.

Seymore: We try to be adaptable across industries and [offer] a crucial training tool for those working outside an office environment. We've partnered with leading programs, including the Carolina Panthers, the Pittsburgh Penguins and many more; the U.S. Department of Defense; first responders ... We are about to launch a partnership with firefighters and we plan to help other EMS personnel across the country, like doctors and nurses.

How does Learn to Win prepare people for high-intensity situations outside of the traditional sense?

Powell: Our core technology is broadly applicable to any sort of training problems an organization may run into, but we're seeing the best resonance in high-stakes learning where teaching and learning really make the difference, in areas like situational emergency procedures for fighter pilots, ship navigation tactics in the Navy or combat tactics for [the] top gun. And a PowerPoint presentation or a three-ring binder are not sufficient methods to meet those demands on what to do in those environments.

How does the app work?

Seymore: As a former Division I college basketball player and U.S. Naval Reserve officer, I can speak to how we've created active methods for today's digital-first learner because I've used our app for my own training. We offer three- to five-minute video and photo-driven lessons [and] web templates where instructors can design lessons and analytical dashboards that provide insight into a player's performance. Our team transforms dense manuals, long videos and other classroom-oriented training materials into quick and easy-to-learn lessons.

How will Learn to Win continue to service customers when coronavirus becomes better controlled and in-person training resumes?

Seymore: When you think about COVID, in many ways it was an accelerator for our business because it forced education technology to transform. But Learn to Win was designed well before COVID came about, following education tech trends that were already happening — and I don't see us going back. We built a tool that is pedagogically more effective — for instance, when a coach sends out a pre-quiz before meetings to see where players are struggling and [the coach can then] run meetings more effectively — and I don't see that changing.

What's next for Learn to Win?

Powell: We're excited about building an end-to-end platform that involves different modalities and experiences depending on what skill or knowledge set that a client is trying to develop is. Things like AR, VR, MR and creating this feedback loop between real-world performance and learning will be enabled by those advances in core technologies. For a while, cognitive science surpassed technology, but now technology seems to be catching up so that we can implement a lot of these principles around learning that have not previously been possible.

Seymore: We have a visionary dream that any player on a team won't be held back by their inability to learn from the playbook in the traditional sense. But we can also further our impact for anyone that is not tethered to their desk all day and needs a mobile-first learning solution. We believe in the power of active learning in every setting, and it applies to university classrooms; the field; the cockpit; on a hospital floor and beyond — and we want our tool to be the one people use to learn everywhere.

Protocol | Policy

Senate infrastructure bill: Who’s winning and losing in tech?

The $1 trillion bill covers everything from cyber to electric vehicles. But who's best positioned to seize the opportunity?

The $1 trillion infrastructure bill includes $550 billion in new spending.

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

There's a little something — and in some cases, a lotta something — for everyone in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that's currently getting hammered out in the Senate.

The $1 trillion bill includes $550 billion in new spending, of which tens of billions of dollars will go toward broadband expansion, low-income internet subsidies, electric vehicle investments, charging stations, cybersecurity and more. The outpouring of federal funding gives anyone from telecom giants to device manufacturers a lot to like.

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Issie Lapowsky ( @issielapowsky) is Protocol's chief correspondent, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. She also oversees Protocol's fellowship program. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University's Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing.

When the COVID-19 crisis crippled societies last year, the collective worldwide race for a cure among medical researchers put a spotlight on the immense power of big data analysis and how sharing among disparate agencies can save lives.

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James Daly has a deep knowledge of creating brand voice identity, including understanding various audiences and targeting messaging accordingly. He enjoys commissioning, editing, writing, and business development, particularly in launching new ventures and building passionate audiences. Daly has led teams large and small to multiple awards and quantifiable success through a strategy built on teamwork, passion, fact-checking, intelligence, analytics, and audience growth while meeting budget goals and production deadlines in fast-paced environments. Daly is the Editorial Director of 2030 Media and a contributor at Wired.
Protocol | Workplace

Silicon Valley has a new recruitment strategy: The four-day workweek

Everything you need to know about how tech companies are beta testing the 32-hour week.

Since the onset of COVID-19, more companies have begun to explore shortened workweeks.

Photo: Matteo Colombo/Getty Images

At software company Wildbit, most employees are logged off on Fridays. That's not going to change anytime soon.

To Natalie Nagele, the company's co-founder and CEO, a full five days of work doesn't necessarily mean the company will get more stuff done. She pointed to computer science professor Cal Newport's book, "Deep Work," which explains how a person's ability to complete meaningful work cuts off after just about four hours. That book, Nagele told Protocol, inspired the company to move to a four-day workweek back in 2017.

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Sarah Roach

Sarah Roach is a reporter and producer at Protocol (@sarahroach_) where she contributes to Source Code, Protocol's daily newsletter. She is a recent graduate of George Washington University, where she studied journalism and mass communication and criminal justice. She previously worked for two years as editor in chief of her school's independent newspaper, The GW Hatchet.

Power

The game industry comes back down to Earth after its pandemic boom

Game company earnings reports this week show a decline from last year's big profits.

The game industry is slowing down as it struggles to maintain last year's record growth.

Photo: Cyril Marcilhacy/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The video game industry is finally slowing down. After a year of unprecedented and explosive growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic, big game publishers and hardware makers are starting to see profits dip from their 2020 highs and other signs of a return to normalcy.

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Allocations wants to make it easier to invest in startups as a group

Now valued at $100 million, it's emerging from stealth to challenge Carta and Assure in the SPV market.

Kingsley Advani, CEO of Allocations, wants to make it easier to form SPVs.

Photo: Allocations

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"If you look at Pinduoduo and group shopping, SPVs are group investing," said Kingsley Advani, Allocations' founder and CEO. Instead of one investor having to cough up millions, multiple people can write smaller checks in an SPV and invest as a cohort. It's a trend that's taken off in 2021 as investors compete to get into hot startups.

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