About Packback

Packback’s purpose is to awaken and fuel the lifelong curiosity in every student.

At Packback, we believe every student has the potential to change the world when they become a lifelong learner.

Right now, graduation is often treated as the end of education…when graduation should really be the start of a lifetime of learning. Students are taught to answer questions and follow directions, but don’t always learn how to question.

But when students are given the opportunity to be bold and follow their curiosity towards the things that interest them, everything changes. Empowering students to ask BIG questions sets them up to go on to become the next great innovators in their fields after graduation…whether that means creating a name for themselves in the art world, building up a new business, taking on world hunger, or turning their telescopes to the sky to discover water on Mars. Our job is to create spaces that awaken and fuel fearless curiosity. Where that curiosity leads is entirely up to them.

Our Team Values

1. We are fearlessly curious

We constantly seek to deepen our understanding of our disciplines and of the world, and to relish opportunities to discover and experience something new. Our curiosity is focused towards how we can build a company that best supports curiosity and lifelong learning in students…and as we explore that question, we ask how our own expertise in engineering, sales, recruiting, etc. can be applied to further that purpose.

2. We are radically kind

We optimize towards truly supporting the best outcomes for our customers, through kindness over niceness. We are radically kind to our teammates. That means we are thoughtful about how we communicate and do not hold back on sharing feedback that could help. And we are kind to ourselves as we grow, focusing on growth and progress over perfection.

3. We do what we say we will do.

Stories that look like “overnight successes” are actually the sum of thousands of tiny decisions to follow through on commitments to ourselves and our team. When we commit to a personal goal, we hold ourselves to that goal rigorously… even if we think no one else is looking.  We take pride in consistently delivering on the personal goals we set, because our individual choices are what add up to team-level success or failure.

4. We never stop moving forward (no matter how small the step).

Building an organization is like running a marathon; many people dream of the finish line, but don’t put in the hundreds of thousands of steps to reach it. We take pride in every small step. Our growth rate is far more important than where we are right now. Today should simultaneously be the best we have ever been, and the worst we will ever be. 

5. We earn leadership through ownership, optimism, and humility.

No one has ever been (or will ever be) simply “given” a leadership role at Packback… leadership and respect are earned by taking responsibility. Leadership is something that we continuously earn through our choices, not something any of us permanently have. Every small task, action, or decision is an opportunity to be an owner.

6. We employ an investor’s mindset.

As an education company, it is our duty to students and professors to invest our time and resources in the way that will create the greatest impact. We have to act as investors with every dollar we earn from selling our product, because it needs to bring far more than a dollar of value back into the lives of students. Because time and resources are limited, we focus on what differentiates us and creates the most impact for students.


Do our values match your own? We’d love to have you join our team.

Awards and Press about Packback

Highlighted Press Features

Packback appeared in the September 2019 cover story of the Chronicle of Higher Education, “How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Teaching”.

Packback, along with several professors, were featured in the November 2018 Forbes article, “Packback Is Building A.I. To Enhance University Learning”.


Awards and Appearances

Packback appeared on Shark Tank. The image depicts the ABC Shark Tank Logo.

Appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank and received investment from Mark Cuban.

Chicago Innovation Awards Logo

Chicago Innovation Award Winners, “Up-and-Comer” Category

Two of our founders, Mike Shannon and Kasey Gandham, were named 2 of Crain's Chicago Business' "20 in their 20's".

Founders were named Crain’s Chicago Business, “20 in their 20’s” in 2016.

Packback's cofounder Jessica Tenuta, was named one of Chicago Inno's "50 on Fire". The image depicts the 50 on Fire logo.

Founder was named one of Chicago Inno’s “50 on Fire” recipients in Chicago.