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Startup Founders Apply Education Experience

Former educators with technology interests are increasingly making their way from classrooms into the startup world as they try to use their school expertise to create ed-tech products and services that solve common problems. What these new “edupreneurs” are often lacking is the knowledge needed to launch and run a business.Even if the concept for the new venture is sound, experts say, educators-turned-entrepreneurs must develop their business acumen to avoid startup failure.“Most […] Read more

Zynga.org’s Game-Based Learning Accelerator Pairs Newbies With Experienced Players

Co.lab is a start-up accelerator that focuses on learning games. A partnership between Zynga.org and the New School Venture Fund, co.lab “works with startups leveraging the power of digital games to build transformative educational technologies for PK-12 students and teachers.”Their third cohort was just announced. It includes seven start-ups “founded by a talented and diverse set of entrepreneurs including educators, technologists, game developers, school founders, researchers from the University of Wisconsin – […] Read more

Educators must do more to reach young men of color

It’s my first time at the New Schools Venture Fund conference, and I’m excited to exchange ideas with entrepreneurs, educators and policymakers. The day will be brimming with innovative approaches to transforming public education for underserved students. But what strikes me first is that, for once, my reflexive search of the room for brown and black faces comes up full.The conference won’t necessarily be better or worse, the discussions more or less fruitful, but […] Read more

KELOWNA EDTECH STARTUP FRESHGRADE RAISES $4.3 MILLION SEED ROUND

Kelowna-based edtech startup FreshGrade has raised a $4.3 million seed round led by NewSchools Venture Fund, Emerson Collective, Accel Partners and Social Capital.Designed by developers in collaboration with teachers and parents, FreshGrade is an education resource for administrators, teachers, and parents allowing for maximum classroom engagement and real-time assessment. The company said it does this by “mirroring how people communicate and use technology today.”Founded in 2011, FreshGrade said its tool underwent a “rigorous development […] Read more

FreshGrade Raises $4.3M to Connect Teachers, Students and Parents

Club Penguin founder Lane Merrifeld sold his kid-safe, massively multiplayer online gaming community to Walt Disney Co.DIS -0.88% in 2007 in what amounted to a $350 million deal.But he never gave up on the idea that kids should be able to safely use the best of today’s technologies in their daily lives.In 2012, he left Disney to co-found an education tech venture called FreshGrade Inc.–with Steve Wandler and Mark Payne–that connects teachers, school administrators, students and their parents or […] Read more

How Foundations Can Engage the Startup Community to Accelerate Impact

Foundations and startups are two words you don’t often see together.  Typically, foundations fund established nonprofits in order to further foundations’ missions.  Yet, foundations could increase their impact by finding innovative ways to work with startups.“Why would a foundation consider partnering with a startup?” This was one of the questions posed to me during the “Foundations And Startups: New Alliances” panel at 1776’s Challenge Festival in May.  As a nonprofit investor at NewSchools Venture Fund, […] Read more

Accelerated: Inside Pixowl’s Decision to Focus on Parents Rather than Schools

A lot can change in two months. When we talked with Pixowl in late May, they had just finished their first test of their educational game Sandbox EDU in a Bay area classroom.Now, they are a few weeks away from launching their app, but their target market is no longer teachers but parents and kids.Read the full article on Gamesandlearning.com Read more

Adding Things Up: Behind the Success of Motion Math’s Suite of Apps

Building a brand, especially in a Wild West world like the App Store, is no small feat.  But there are a number of companies that have managed to rise to the top of the charts in the app stores without established brand power behind them. Motion Math, born from a couple of guys who met at Stanford and had a passion for math and the power of new devices to help educate, […] Read more

It’s Time: Connecting What Students Need & What Entrepreneurs Create

I recently participated on a Digital Promise panel about whether what economists call“pull mechanisms” can create more incentives for innovation in education technology. Pull mechanism refers to things like challenges, prizes, and advanced market commitments – ways of paying for innovations based on their actual performance. This in contrast to government agencies and philanthropists making upfront investments in design and development of solutions and then “pushing” them to (or some would say on) buyers and users. […] Read more