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North Dakota startup awarded $200,000, becomes semifinalist for $1 million grant

FARGO, N.D. – Fargo-based immersive media company, Be More Colorful, has advanced to the semifinals of the 2023 Yass Prize, an award that recognizes and rewards innovative approaches to education. As a testament to its innovation, Be More Colorful will receive a $200,000 grant for its CareerViewXR platform, positioning the company to vie for the coveted $1 million Yass Prize next month.

“Being recognized among such transformative national players in the education field is a proud moment for us, our team, and everyone in our community who has supported us during the development of CareerViewXR,” said Katie Chaussee, co-owner and founder of Be More Colorful.

CareerViewXR: Bridging classrooms and workplaces

The CareerViewXR platform harnesses 360-degree technology, crafting interactive web-based tours and accompanying virtual reality videos that seamlessly transport job sites into classrooms. Its burgeoning library of field trips and job shadows offers students a window into the daily lives of professionals in authentic work settings. Through these experiences, learners gain insightful perspectives on various industries, aiding them in making informed career choices. Be More Colorful plans to allocate any grant proceeds towards the development of an enhanced platform. If awarded the full $1 million, this upgrade would introduce an individual user subscription, complementing the existing group subscription model. Such a move not only mirrors the Yass Prize’s STOP principle of “Permissionless” but also paves the way for students and adult career explorers to delve into immersive field trips and job shadows, irrespective of affiliations with school districts or other entities.“In our ever-evolving world, it’s imperative that educational resources remain borderless. ‘Permissionless’ to us means every student, regardless of their background or location, should have access to tools that expand their horizons,” emphasized co-founder Katie Chaussee. “Especially for those who might not have traditional educational pathways available to them.”

Various snapshots of career content featured on the CareerViewXR platform

Understanding the Yass Prize: A beacon of educational innovation

Established in 2021, the Yass Prize has rapidly gained recognition as one of the most esteemed awards in the education sector. The organization’s mission is to highlight and honor organizations and individuals pushing boundaries of educational methods and technologies, aiming to create a brighter, more inclusive future for students.

 The prestige of the Yass Prize is rooted in its rigorous selection process which, if successful, puts applicants on a path to compete for the $1 million prize. Beyond the technicalities and grant money, being selected as a quarterfinalist or semifinalist is a testament to groundbreaking ideas that have the potential to reshape the educational landscape. Previous awardees, ranging from edtech startups to grassroots community initiatives, have gone on to achieve national acclaim, further investment, and, most importantly, have made a tangible difference in the lives of students.


The Yass Prize competition

This year’s competition began in early 2023 when nearly 2,000 nationwide applicants prepared and submitted their proposals to be considered for the Yass Prize. On September 14, 2023, after an intensive application review process, 64 quarterfinalists were announced from the applicant pool. Entrants were gauged based on the Yass Prize’s foundational STOP Principles — emphasizing Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding, and Permissionless education methods. Quarterfinalists were further evaluated through an interview process which narrowed the field to 33 Semifinalists. The Semifinalists collectively impact over 520,000 students in 21 states, and their national influence grows significantly when considering the reach of education technology contenders.

 Matthew Chaussee, co-founder of Be More Colorful, stated, “The depth and breadth of this competition showcases the tremendous strides being made in education. We’re honored to be part of this journey and represent North Dakota as a leader in innovative education.”

 The Semifinalists will all enter a four-week virtual accelerator program starting October 31. This will be followed by an in-person boot camp in Miami from November 27-30 where the Semifinalists will fine tune their message and pitch to convince an audience of investors, edtech experts, and education innovators to determine whether they will become one of eight Finalist awardees, who will each receive a $500,000 grant, or whether they will be selected as the sole winner of the $1 million Yass Prize.

Parent’s choice award

A second announcement by the Yass Prize highlighted an opportunity for Be More Colorful to win a supplementary Parent’s Choice award of $100,000. If awarded, Be More Colorful has pledged to use the funds to seed a program that would provide virtual reality headsets to schools unable to afford them. All schools are eligible, but special consideration will be given to schools and homeschools not receiving federal, state, or local funding to support their operations. This supplementary award of $100,000 will be given to the public’s favorite semifinalist as determined during an open voting period. This year’s voting period runs from October 10 through November 25, 2023. According to the Yass Prize committee, “Whether you are a parent, know a parent, or love like a parent, you can vote every single day for up to two different semifinalists.” The winner of the Parent’s Choice award will be announced on December 13, 2023 at the Yass Prize Gala in New York City.

Parent’s Choice Award voting site: sample experiences of CareerViewXR journeys:


About Be More Colorful

Be More Colorful, based in Fargo, North Dakota specializes in immersive technology solutions for solving workforce development problems. Co-founded by husband-and-wife team Matt and Katie Chaussee, the company has been at the forefront of creating immersive media solutions that help people make better decisions about where they choose to live, learn, work and play. Be More Colorful Website: https://www.bemorecolorful.comCareerViewXR Website: https://www.careerviewxr.comThe Yass Prize Website:

For media inquiries, please contact:

Maddysen Boecker Communications Coordinator, Be More Colorful

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (701) 353-2000 EXT 704

Michael Bush

Creative Lead

Maddysen Boecker

Maddy has a variety of creative experience under her belt from over the past few years and enjoys learning new things. She has been involved in video and podcast editing, copywriting, email campaigns, social media management, website design, and more. Her experience and understanding of many aspects of pre-production, production, and post-production helps her be an asset for the team at any stage.
B.S. Animation, minors in Film Production and Graphic Communication – MSUM May 2020
Member of Team BMC since April 2022
Primary Roles:
  • Highlights company news through email and social media campaigns
  • Composes unique and thoughtful copy for blogs, press releases, and other needs
  • Assists in the creation of flyers, ads, and other collateral.

Kryss Geray

Kryss has worked in several different industries, including as a test engineer at a local Fargo company.  As a test engineer, she helped with quality assurance to ensure all products met the highest standards, tested and documented all products, and collaborated on more effective and efficient ways of completing these tasks. She is proud to have worked on agricultural equipment such as acoustic material flow sensors and electronic motor and hydraulic controls, along with aviation equipment such as the Stratus ADS-B Receivers, and recoverable data modules.
Member of Team BMC since March 2022
Primary Roles:
  • Oversees initial processing of all 360° media
  • Provides quality assurance for 360° photos and video content
  • Proofreads tour content meticulously

Michael Bush

Creative Lead

Drew Swenson

B.F.A. Musical Theater, minor in Media Production – UWSP May 2018
Member of Team BMC since August 2021
Primary Roles: 
  • Leads direction for all 360° media scouting trips and shoots
  • Supervises production team
  • Oversees creation of audio assets


Creative Lead

Michael Bush

B.A. 2D/3D Animation – MSUM May 2020
Member of Team BMC since February 2021
Primary Roles:
  • Dynamically animates in 2D and 3D
  • Meticulously designs UI and UX elements
  • Formulates graphics for print and web use
  • Champions XR research & development
  • Guides efforts of the creative team

Matt Chaussee

Matt is the Chief Executive Officer and co-owner of Be More Colorful. He has extensive experience in technical services administration, higher education, teaching, and technology training initiatives. While Matt’s role is primarily focused on business development and outreach, he is a self-professed lifelong learner who feels he has found his life’s calling in being able to learn about, explore, and share the amazing diversity of careers available to students today.
B.S. Mathematics minor Music and Psychology – NDSU December 2005
Masters of Business Administration – NDSU May 2009
Cofounded Team BMC in August 2016
Primary Roles:
  • Spearheads business development
  • Nurtures sales efforts
  • Amplifies community outreach
  • Coordinates workflow development
  • Maintains HR and payroll functions

Michael Bush

Creative Lead

Katie Chaussee

Majority Owner, Co-Founder, Chief Administrative Officer
Katie is the Chief Administrative Officer and majority owner of Be More Colorful. She has a strong background in customer service and a keen eye for creating captivating visuals, both defining characteristics of the company. Katie was Be More Colorful’s first VR photographer and has served the company as an image processor, experience builder, and quality assurance specialist. In her current role, Katie is the key administrator for Be More Colorful’s in-office operations where she works to adapt and refine workflows for a talented team of creative professionals.
B.S. Psychology minor Art – NDSU May 2003
Cofounded Team BMC in August 2016
Primary Roles:
  • Coordinates workflow development
  • Oversees various aspects of office management
  • Manages various purchasing decisions
  • Maintains HR and payroll functions
  • Formulates creative marketing ideas

Michael Bush

Creative Lead