Ignite - Program

NewSchools Ignite creates opportunities for entrepreneurs to learn, connect and grow together. Our virtual accelerator program lasts for approximately twelve months, featuring targeted content and feedback delivered via phone/video meetings, web-based presentations, and opportunities for online collaboration. While our program includes two in-person convenings, challenge winners do not need to re-locate to participate in other program elements.

NewSchools Ignite virtual accelerator program

NewSchools Ignite is a virtual accelerator program that supports edtech developers addressing the most pressing gaps in PreK-12 education. In addition to customized management assistance focused on product and business strategy, we connect ventures to targeted feedback from researchers, educators, investors, and other experts. Since summer 2015, we have launched six challenges to support more than 70 teams of educators and entrepreneurs working to reimagine edtech to meet critical student needs in science, middle and high school math, English language learning, special education, early learning, and the future of work. Through these challenges, we seek to cultivate high-impact, sustainable and scalable innovations that will help millions of young people – especially those in underserved communities – achieve their most ambitious dreams and plans.

In addition to grant funding ($50,000-$150,000 depending on product stage), challenge winners receive:

  • Participation in opening and closing convenings + NewSchools Summit (in-person);
  • Product feedback and guidance from best-in-class entrepreneurs, educators, researchers and other experts;
  • A small-scale study conducted by cognitive scientists and researchers from one of our partner research organizations;
  • Advice and best practices on user testing, accessibility and designing for classrooms/schools; and
  • Digital resources including access to a virtual entrepreneur community and web-based presentations on topics including fundraising and revenue models.

NewSchools Ignite Research Partnerships

One unique aspect of our program is our partnerships with premier research organizations. During the 12-month program, we work with WestEd to synthesize and share research-based best practices as well as provide ventures with actionable product feedback from educators and researchers. We also partner with Evidentally to provide ventures with user demographic profile reports, which approximate the racial and socioeconomic characteristics of a product’s users. In addition, challenge winners work with our research partners to complete a small-scale study focused on subjects ranging from usability and feasibility to promise of learning. By infusing iterative research early into the ed tech development process, we hope to improve products, increase alignment with educator and student demand, and enhance ventures’ research capacity, helping to put more developers on a path toward efficacy, scale, and impact.

FAQ EXPAND ALL SHRINK ALL

What is the focus of NewSchools Ignite?

NewSchools Ignite is an initiative of NewSchools’ Ed Tech team, focused on accelerating innovation in K-12 edtech market gaps. We select investment areas based on market research including input from a diverse group of educators and edtech decision-makers, then create opportunities for companies and nonprofits working in these areas to apply for funding as well as other support.

Who can apply? What are the criteria?

The NewSchools Ignite program is open to entrepreneurs working to develop engaging, technology-enabled learning experiences, assessments and other digital tools that support students’ academic and social development. To be eligible for funding, applicants must be working on projects that are aligned with NewSchools’ charitable purpose of transforming public education so that all children – especially those in underserved communities – have the opportunity to succeed.

We are looking for companies and nonprofits developing products that:

  • ignite students’ curiosity and facilitate deeper learning;
  • address one or more of the critical student needs identified by educators;
  • are accessible and usable by a wide range of children – especially underserved student populations;
  • are designed to help students take ownership of their own learning;
  • support teachers’ delivery of tailored instruction;
  • have potential to achieve wide distribution and generate sustainable revenue; and
  • align with the NewSchools’ diligence and investment criteria.
What company/product stage is this program designed to support?

The NewSchools Ignite virtual accelerator program is designed to support companies and organizations creating products across a wide developmental spectrum, ranging from early- to growth-stage. To be considered for funding, applicants must submit at least one product as part of their application (prototypes are accepted).

What is a “virtual accelerator program”?

While our program includes two in-person convenings, challenge winners do not need to re-locate to participate in other program elements. Our virtual accelerator program will last for approximately twelve months, featuring targeted content and feedback delivered via phone/video meetings, web-based presentations, and opportunities for online collaboration. Read more about our program.

What type of financial support will selected applicants receive?

In addition to participation in two in-person convenings and a twelve-month virtual accelerator program, challenge winners will receive grants ranging from $50,000 to $150,000 (depending on product stage).

Does NewSchools receive equity from participants?

All funds distributed to participants will take the form of grants. NewSchools will NOT request equity in exchange for participation.

If you have additional questions, feel free to contact us by emailing ignite@newschools.org.