Last month on September 27th, Hyatt hotel on Boston harbor was the venue for 2018 Investors and Channels Summit which brought together edtech entrepreneurs, professionals, investors, and channel partners to discuss their needs and opportunities. As a part of LearnLaunch Accelerator team which co-hosted and managed this event, it was a perfect opportunity for me to meet and interact with innovative edtech leaders and gain valuable insight into the fundraising profile of the industry.
From sales pitch presentations to panel sessions and investor speed dating, a lot happened during the Investors & Channels Summit. I compiled a list of 4 things I learned about the edtech space during this two-day event:
- There is no silver bullet to investor funding. According to MassVentures’ Charlie Hipwood, entrepreneurs need to have three things in place when approaching a potential investor: a method of measuring whatever it is they are doing, some proof that what they are doing is effective and worthwhile, and a big vision about what you can do beyond the classroom. Investors support the issues that are closest to their hearts and have a sustainable and actionable plan for future growth.
- Educational Technology has a promising future. The definition of edtech is constantly evolving and expanding. People are constantly coming up with new ideas to help both students and learners succeed that fundamentally change the way we think about the field. I got the opportunity to see some of these unique approaches, such as an educational animation app that allows students to animate objects and drawings, a headset that monitors cognitive activity during the learning process, and a subscription-based company that mails engineering projects to your home every month. These startups are among some of the many unique ideas that leaders in the edtech space are coming up with to improve education for both students and learners.
- Successful edtech leaders have diverse academic and professional backgrounds. Not every edtech CEO who came to the summit was an experienced entrepreneur or technology professional. Some came from previous backgrounds as teachers, parents, or other professions. What they all had in common was the insight to see a problem in our education system that needed to be addressed, and the drive and innovation to build a sustainable solution.
- Educational Technology is revolutionizing pedagogy. Chalk Talk is one of the edtech startups that are changing the way teachers teach by equipping educators with blended learning models and personalized lesson plans. Workforce productivity tools are becoming more prevalent in the workplace, helping teachers to focus more on actual teaching and less time on prep-work.