This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the 11 student startups participating in our in-person Terp Startup summer accelerator since 2020. Participating student entrepreneurs will receive a stipend of up to $5,000 that will enable them to work exclusively on their startups over the next eight weeks.
Founder: Joseph Thibault, Member of the Executive MBA Cohort ‘23
DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Thibault: Cursive’s roots are in trying to solve a gap in education and academic policies as old as assignments: verifiable authorship that ties the process of creating directly to the student. We focus first on written submissions and have used machine learning to let users volunteer and continuously verify their biometric signature using a standard keyboard.
DC: At what point did you know you wanted to create your own startup?
Thibault: I’ve been working at startups or with startups since 2007, and in the last few years realized that I was coming back to try to solve the same problem again and again. As I talked to more and more educators, I learned that they also were trying to solve that problem, but there weren’t any good solutions out there. Through an Action Learning Project in the MBA program, I got to focus on what it would take and how I might solve this issue.
DC: Who or what is your biggest influence for your startup?
Thibault: I’ve had the good fortune and luck to have great mentors and leaders over the last decade, and am grateful to have support from my friends and family to pursue this issue. I’m influenced by all of the wonderful teachers who’ve given me great feedback on my work submitted and by my classmates who bring their full selves to class so that we can all learn from each other. Without their effort, I would not be the learner I am today.
DC: Why did you decide to start a business in this industry?
Thibault: The lack of an existing commercial solution to this issue is what has inspired me to try to solve it. There’s a collective agreement that this is a problem, yet no good solution exists. I think that our approach to focusing on the writing process is a fundamental change that will be great for education pedagogically, for learning to be better writers, and for taking ownership of what we are creating and sharing with our class and classmates.
DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last few months?
Thibault: In April, we competed in the Heartland Challenge 2023 Startup Competition in Bentonville, AR, and had a great time as a team traveling there to pitch, and talk with VCs and their community. I’m super excited that Cursive was selected to participate in the Terp Accelerator this summer.
DC: When it comes to your startup, how do you define success?
Thibault: We are creating options for educators and students to build better trust-based academic integrity in the classrooms. We’ll be successful when students and faculty are able to adopt us freely and choose to do so because it creates a better learning environment.
DC: What are you hoping to achieve during Terp Startup Accelerator this summer?
Thibault: I’m looking forward to the support of my peers and to honing our message. Our goal is to be in classrooms for Fall ‘23.
DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Thibault: First: pick a problem to solve, then work on finding solutions. Second, treat every moment as an opportunity to advance your idea and vision.
To learn more about Cursive Technology Inc., please visit the website here.