Whoever Said ‘Bigger is Better’ Obviously Hasn’t Met Raleigh’s Betabox

Betabox mobile labs bring technological immersions to schools nationwide. The company's CEO, Sean Newman Maroni, was just named to Forbes' 30 Under 30 list for education.

Sean Newman Maroni, the CEO of Betabox, Inc. and an NC State product, was just named to the 2019 Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for education.

With operations out of Raleigh, the 26-year-old Maroni founded the company three years ago and has provided STEM and design experiences to over 150,000 students across 25 states.

With mobile workshops on 3-D printing, laser-cutting, virtual reality and more, Betabox aims to create world-class, hands-on learning opportunities for students wherever they’re located.

In interactive, revamped shipping containers, Betabox is able to bring the field trip to every school’s backyard. While a majority of their labs—around 60 percent—are being done in the Southeast, they’re hoping to expand that to other locations across the country.

“We want to create 10 hubs over the next five years,” Sean said. “And possibly set locations in different areas like Texas, St. Louis, Southern California, so we can grow our business in that manner.”

Inside the ‘Unseen World’ Betabox, one of the STEM labs that focuses on medicine and its preventative technologies.

In addition to this, Sean noticed that not everyone is fortunate to have a role model or mentor in their life to expose them to the “initial cool, exciting and engaging interests.” Without those interests, Sean says, school can feel like drudgery and students won’t be motivated.

When a school can’t afford the immersion but wants a lab to come to their school, often times Betabox partners with companies, through “Powered by Betabox,” which enables those corporate partners to fund the experiences.

Around 66 percent of the company’s experiences are ‘Powered by Betabox’ with this funding model, which allows industry partners to get involved in educational-social impact while creating marketing and recruiting opportunities for themselves.

Last year, with the help of industry partners, Betabox brought over 45,000 learning hours to schools at a price of less than $2.50 per student.

“The point of Betabox is to operate as a supplement to the mentors and role models in a particular young person’s life and to create some of these spark moments, the ‘aha!’ moments,’” said Maroni. “These are opportunities to get students involved in hands-on technology. And for them to learn that it could be fun, collaborative, and something they actually see themselves pursuing.”