Iowa City-based startup ‘Pear Deck’ is one of 12 companies selected to pitch Google

Pear Deck
Pear Deck COO Michal Eynon-Lynch (left) and designer Cassie Wenger. — photo by John Miller

Pear Deck, an Iowa City-based educational startup, is one of just 12 companies selected to participate in the “Google for Entrepreneurs Demo Day,” set for April 2 at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. This year, each of the selected companies will have five minutes to pitch their product to an audience of investors.

Pear Deck goes into the event with a lot of momentum: At SXSW Festival in Austin last week, the company took home the $150,000 first prize at AOL founder Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest contest. Case was selected as an investor judge for last year’s Google for Entrepreneurs Demo Day, and ended up surprising attendees with a $100,000 contribution to each of the 10 startups present.

According to Pear Deck co-founder and Chief Educator Michal Eynon-Lynch, the company plans to use their Rise of the Rest winnings to expand their team so that they will can continue to develop their product and reach more classrooms.

Currently, more than 4,500 schools have used Pear Deck since its launch last year.

Its creators describe Pear Deck as a “slide deck”-style application that teachers can use in their classrooms to get students more actively engaged in learning.

“Normally when you’re lecturing or using a slide presentation you’re just telling information, and students are passively listening. Maybe you as a teacher ask a question and a couple of students at the front of the classroom raise their hands. And it’s always the same students who raise their hands,” Eynon-Lynch said.

“Pear Deck makes it so the presentation can be on every student’s device, and a question can be asked through the program and you get every single student answering right there,” she added. “The answers come up in real-time for the teacher.”

Eynon-Lynch says the next step for Pear Deck will be to broaden its accessibility to educators who may not feel as comfortable with new technology. She wants to demonstrate its user-friendliness, while showing that it has had real, measurable success in the classrooms where it has already been implemented.

“You can use [Pear Deck] to form the path that your lesson will take,” Eynon-Lynch said. “We’re really excited since we’re collecting a lot of ‘formative assessment’ data, because there a lot of possibilities as to what we can do with that information to help transform not only the way teachers teach in class, but across classes, and then the way it can impact a whole school and the way that they plan curriculum.”

“There are a lot of really exciting ways we can go with this,” she added.

At the conclusion of Google for Entrepreneurs Day, judges will select a favorite startup, but regardless of the judges decision, Eynon-Lynch says it’s really just about getting the chance to meet investors and gain wider exposure for Pear Deck.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »


Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!


July 2020 marks Little Village’s 19th anniversary. With our community of readers alongside us, we’ll be ready for what the next 19 have in store.



$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.