Dallas’ Taylor Shead Wins Global Competition at U.N. AI for Good Summit in Geneva

At the U.N.'s recent AI for Good summit in Geneva, Day One was capped by a pitch competition featuring four startups from around the world, including Dallas-based Stemuli, a generative metaverse gaming platform that's "reimagining learning." Its founder and CEO Taylor Shead won the pitch—and now she's back home with other big goals in mind.

A Dallas founder has pitched her edtech startup on a United Nations stage in Geneva—and come home the global No. 1 winner.

Taylor Shead is founder and CEO of Dallas-based Stemuli—whose generative metaverse gaming platform reimagines education with AI-tailored learning and immersive career training

In April, Shead won the North American pitch competition presented by the AI for Good Innovation Factory, a U.N.-based acceleration platform that helps startups scale their innovative AI-powered and SDG-driven solutions. That gave her the chance to represent North America at the Innovation Factory Grand Finale in Geneva, Switzerland, during the recent U.N. AI for Good Summit. She also won a $200,000 prize package for Stemuli.

At the May 30 world competition in Geneva, Stemuli was declared the global winner:

Stemuli Founder and CEO Taylor Shead’s startup was declared the winner of the Innovation Factory Grand Finale in Geneva, Switzerland. [Photo: AI For Good]

That put the Dallas founder in some illustrious company. The AI for Good Summit attracted speakers including Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAi; U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres; Daren Tang, director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization; Anna Koivuniemi, head of the Google DeepMind Impact Accelerator; UC-Berkeley Professor Stuart Russell, author of “Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control”; and many more.

Pitched live onstage against three international startups 

Shead pitched Stemuli in front of a live audience as the culminating event of Day One of the Summit, demonstrating how AI and gaming technology can redefine continuous learning and workforce development.

Shead pitched against three other international companies, selected after a year-long search for the top AI and robotics start-ups:

Finapp, an Italian startup optimizing irrigation strategy to environmental monitoring: where soil moisture is an indispensable element through their solution Finapp probe. The company makes its innovative contribution thanks to cosmic rays that measure water content into the soil in depth, on a large scale and in real time.

Bioniks, a Pakistani startup utilizing cutting-edge technology to create custom-fitted, functional prosthetics that aim to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities—including the development of a bionic arm for a young child.

Wandercraft, a French startup that’s revolutionizing mobility with the first commercial self-balancing exoskeleton, driven by AI to facilitate natural walking for people with mobility impairments.

‘Personalized learning for every kid on the planet’

“We believe that every learner deserves a highly engaging experience that should last a lifetime,” Shead said, according to AI for Good. “We use personalized learning for every kid on the planet and we are on a mission to leverage AI and gaming for education and the future.” 

Following the four live pitches, the judges conferred and declared Stemuli the winner.

“It was a difficult decision,” said Heidi Bianca Roddenberry, board chair of The Roddenberry Foundation, citing the “impressive” work of all four startups. “But we believe in children and that your solution is doing good.”

Other judges on the panel included Ulrike Tagscherer, chief innovation officer at KUKA; Seizo Onoe, director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau at the International Telecommunication Union; and Stephen Ibaraki, chairman & managing general partner at REDDS Capital.

The Innovation Factory Grand Finale was moderated by Pascale Davies, a Tech Reporter at Euronews and Brandon Andrews, a Co-Founder at Gauge.

A ‘stratospheric’ rise—and now a member of the Texoma Semiconductor Hub

A new profile in D CEO called The Education of Taylor Shead, and Stemuli’s Stratospheric Rise takes a deep dive into Shead’s life story and how far she’s taken her startup since she filed paperwork to launch it in 2016.

Some 100,000 learners use the Stemuli platform today. Shead told D CEO that will triple in the next school year—and she’s currently aiming to reach 2 million.

One big sign of Stemuli’s success: It’s one of 41 members of the Texoma Semiconductor Hub, part of 31 tech hubs designated last October by the Biden-Harris administration to build capacity to manufacture, commercialize, and deploy technology that will advance American competitiveness.

“Stemuli is going to be the digital learning platform for that tech hub,” Shead told D CEO. “When people hear about the industry, they’re going to go to the Stemuli landing page and it is going to tell them how to navigate the resources in order to become prepared for jobs in this career.”

With momentum like that, Shead’s win in Geneva likely won’t be the last for Stemuli and its mission “to provide a pathway to an intellectually and economically fulfilling career for all.”

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