SBA to recognize Brooklyn-based Educational Game Maker at Award Ceremony in Times Square

Release Date: 
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Release Number: 
18-12
Contact: 
Bailey Wolff (212) 264-1489

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), New York District Office, has named Jessica Ochoa-Hendrix, Mandë Holford and Lindsay Portnoy of Killer Snails LLC  as the 2018 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Recipients of the Year.

The three founders of Killer Snails LLC were selected for their successful use of nearly $1 million in SBIR Research and Development funds to bring educational games to market. The company is also being recognized for the creation of new employment opportunities and its potential for future growth.

Beth Goldberg, Director of the New York District SBA Office, said of the SBIR/STTR program and Killer Snails’ award, “Much of the technology that advances society was developed through the help of the SBIR/STTR program. This high-growth, high-risk, federal government funding mechanism rewards innovation and dares small business to create with federal R&D dollars. Congratulations to Killer Snails! Their innovative approach and cutting-edge ideas make them great examples of creative, intrepid, New York District entrepreneurs.”

The mission of Killer Snails is to bring science out of the laboratory and into the real world through meaningful play. The Killer Snail team is made up of an active marine biochemist (Holford), an educational psychologist (Portnoy), and a Columbia-trained MBA (Ochoa-Hendrix). The women-owned company partners with educators in seven states and has worked with more than 1,100 students to make science learning accessible and engaging.

Ochoa-Hendrix, who heads business development for the company, said, “Our games integrate the ‘how’ and ‘why’ components of learning currently lacking in the ed-tech market. Killer Snails creates imaginative, engaging products that are intellectually stimulating, fun, and inspirational. All of our games have a teacher guide that aligns to national standards and our digital games offer real-time assessment so teachers can pivot to students’ learning needs as they engage with the games.”

Killer Snails has leveraged ICorps, Phase I, and Phase II SBIR grants through the National Science Foundation to develop tabletop, digital and virtual reality games. Killer Snails’ first two award-winning games, Assassins of the Sea and Biome Builder, are featured on Amazon’s LaunchPad. The trio has a patent pending on the innovative communication system within the virtual reality experience, BioDive, that they’re building with the SBIR Phase II funding of $780,000 which will debut Fall 2018.

The New York District SBA Office will recognize Killer Snails LLC along with other local National Small Business Week Award winners at a ceremony on May 1, 2018, at the Microsoft Technology Center in Times Square. Registration for the ceremony is open through this webpage.

For additional information on National Small Business Week, please visit the dedicated Small Business Week website