Zynga and NewSchools Venture Fund create accelerator for educational gaming startups

May 1, 2013

Ed tech entrepreneurs are getting yet another startup accelerator to choose from, but this one has a very specific focus: gaming.

At the NewSchools Summit on Wednesday, social gaming giant Zynga and NewSchools Venture Fund said they are partnering up for an entrepreneurship program to support startups developing learning games and apps.

Zynga will host the startups at its San Francisco office, where they’ll be able tointeract with game designers and product managers, and Zynga.org, the company’s nonprofit arm, has committed $1 million for the first year.

“Through the efforts of Zynga.org, we’ve shown that social games can impact peoples’ lives for the better,” said Ken Weber, executive director of Zynga.org. “[With NewSchools], we want to help entrepreneurs create high quality, scalable learning games that will enhance learning experiences for all 21st century students.”

The announcement comes during something of a boom time in ed tech. Since the start of the year, a handful of other accelerators have also launched targeting education startups. And, according to CB Insights, education technology companies raised $1.1 billion in 2012.

The first cohort of the Zynga- and NewSchools-backed program will start this summer and include learning gaming apps Kidaptive, LocoMotiveLabs and Motion Math. Education social network Edmodo will join the cohort as a charter partner.