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Where are K-12 Edtech Venture Backed Startups Based?

This is the first post in a series to spotlight trends in K-12 edtech venture funding data.Advantageous location of a startup is no substitute for a great product or entrepreneur, but it may increase the odds of success. In edtech, early success for a startup often hinges on access to talent, early-stage funding, high-quality accelerators, research partnerships and innovation-friendly school districts.According to year-to-date K-12 edtech venture funding data provided by EdSurge, the […] Read more

Investment Approaches of the Seed Fund- Part II

Last week I shared some of our thinking behind our investments in STEM, relevance and communication, found here. With this post, I’ll share our approach for investing in special education and english language learning.Specialized Tools Can Better Reach Children Outside of the Mainstream While traditional venture capital has backed consumer-oriented english language learning tools like Rosetta Stone, Livemocha and more recently, mobile apps like Duolingo, we take a very different approach. We target tools for […] Read more

Investment Approaches of the Seed Fund- Part I

Our Seed Fund supports high potential entrepreneurs developing technology solutions for the biggest challenges in K-12 education. We look for areas where the power of technology can improve our education system and its ability to maximize the learning potential of every child. We borrow our approach from venture capital¹ in that we develop investment theses informed by listening to educators, researching technology trends, studying student achievement data, and listening closely to the […] Read more

Equity, Diversity & Edtech

The “wall of silence” is crumbling. For the first time, Silicon Valley’s technology companies have begun releasing data about the diversity of their employees. The disclosures help to quantify a reality that many have suspected or experienced firsthand: Less than five percent of the collective workforces of Facebook, Google and Yahoo are black or Hispanic; four out of five team members are white or Asian men.These statistics mirror broader trends. Only 13 percent of […] Read more

Defining Impact in Education Technology

“I have trouble understanding double, triple bottom line funds – there can only be one bottom line for impact funds. That’s why they call it the bottom.”  – a paraphrase of Kevin StarrI am thrilled by the attention the education market has been getting lately, from double bottom line, impact, and profit-maximizing funds alike. What “success” looks like is different to each stakeholder, and I consider myself lucky to work at a well financed fund […] Read more

Technology and Student Engagement

In the age of mobile computing, attention and engagement have become commodities. Advertisers are willing to spend millions for mere seconds of viewers’ attention. With all the ads and apps buzzing in students’ pockets in the 21st century classroom, we had to ask ourselves: how are learning technologies (books, desktops, tablets, and otherwise) keeping up with the rising bar of grabbing attention? What are the best practices for engaging students today? Specifically […] Read more

TinyTap Taps into Educational Games and Interactive Lessons

 Just as indie coders can create hot new apps, teachers and students can develop educational content with widespread appeal. However, teachers and students often face technological barriers to producing and distributing great content. TinyTap, a platform for creating interactive lessons and educational games, solves this problem: TinyTap allows anyone to easily create and share engaging educational materials.When you open the TinyTap app, you are prompted to either create new lessons and games or to […] Read more

Live from Summit 2014: CCSS and Designing Digital Learning

In a series of discussions moderated by Betsy Corcoran of Edsurge, entrepreneurs and other education stakeholders tackled both the problems and opportunities in K12 learning. Their discussion centered around two central questions and were asked to share out initial answers, partially listed below. What excites you about the potential for learning technology? Differentiated learning, immediate feedback, less expensive education, increased access, greater scale, more productivity, learning outside of class What concerns or worries […] Read more

Live From Summit 2014: But How Do We Know What’s Working?

The pace of technology adoption in schools is accelerating like a Formula 1 race car driven by both teachers and administrators hungry for products that spur deeper engagement and better results.. But how can customers, product developers, and investors figure out what’s working?  In this session we heard from entrepreneurs, investors and publishers about the latest ideas for defining efficacy and assessing the impact of education technology on student learning.  In the past […] Read more

Why Direct-to-Consumer Models Matter in Education

In the last few weeks I’ve enjoyed two great reads on edtech investing, both advocating for a district direct sales approach for growing businesses. 1. Matt Greenfield, There is no Bubble in Educational Technology: Not for Businesses that Actually Make Sense. 2. Michael Feldstein, Why VC’s Usually Get Edtech Wrong.  Silicon Valley VC’s, on the other hand, don’t seem to be buying it, here’s what Marc Andreesen said.   “I wouldn’t want to […] Read more