In her 15 years as an English teacher, ThinkCerca founder and CEO Eileen Murphy Buckley spent a lot of time teaching people to argue. She believes the ability to make persuasive arguments is a key to entrepreneurs’ success as well.

That skill, Buckley says, helped her raise $1.1 million in seed funding for her literacy and critical-thinking software platform, which launched in July 2012. ThinkCerca helps teachers tailor and supplement lessons on close reading and argumentation with online assignments, mini lessons and other tools for educators of K-12 students.

The program is designed to teach kids how to make rational, well-reasoned arguments. Cerca stands for claim, evidence, reasoning, collaboration and audience in a nod to the elements one needs to address when speaking or writing persuasively.

“To make something that is really complex and more of a vision than a real thing simple enough for someone else to understand and believe in is probably the first big hurdle an entrepreneur has to address,” Buckley said.

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