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 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

Co.lab Game Accelerator Opens Applications for Next Round

One of the primary ways in which firms are getting products to market or ready to seek larger VC funding is by entering incubators and accelerators. One of the only out there that focus on learning and games is Co.lab, a partnership between the New Schools Venture Fund and the non-profit wing of mobile game firm Zynga.Read the full article on Read more

Strong standards, political air cover, and talent: Exporting the success of Boston’s charter school sector

Here follows the third entry in Fordham’s “Charter School Policy Wonk-a-Thon,” in which Mike Petrilli challenged a number of prominent scholars, practitioners, and policy analysts to take a stab at explaining why some charter sectors outpace their local district schools while others are falling behind. Read more

Venture capitalists make a big deal over education

Venture capitalists are pouring money into educational technology. If last year’s numbers are any indication, the amount of spending could double to more than $2 billion in 2014. The above graphic uses data from the New Schools Venture Fund, a public charity that invests in educational technology.  The Fund estimates that $452 million was invested in the category in 2013.Each bubble represents one of 116 deals that New Schools documented in 2013.  The bigger […] Read more