Exclusive: Meet the first startups in Kaplan’s TechStars-powered ed tech accelerator-Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship - Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Exclusive: Meet the first startups in Kaplan’s TechStars-powered ed tech accelerator

The power of TechStars is being put to the test by the demands of education. On Tuesday, the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by the well-known Boulder, Colo.-based startup program, will announce its inaugural cohort of companies.

Back in February, the two companies announced the new New York-based program, which combines Kaplan’s expertise and cachet in for-profit education with TechStars’ experience mentoring and training up-and-coming startups. In addition to its debut class of 10 startups, which was selected from an applicant pool of 350, the companies announced that they have upped the amount of funding available to each startup. On top of the $20,000 given to each company in exchange for six percent equity, TechStars and Kaplan are offering each startup a $100,000 convertible note.

As we’ve noted previously, competition among ed tech accelerators is ramping up, with a handful of programs nationwide courting education entrepreneurs, including two in New York alone. But the Kaplan TechStars program, which kicks off today, now offers startups the most generous funding package (surpassing Palo Alto-based Imagine K-12, which increased its funding to $100,000 earlier this year).

The new classes in the Kaplan EdTech program run the gamut from an online learning program for military veterans to a startup aiming to “jailbreak” the college degree. But they seem to target the lifelong or informal learner more than the formal student or classroom teacher. Just three of the startups in the group, for example, appear to be tools for classroom teachers, which contrasts with the composition of startups in programs like Imagine K-12, Socratic Labs and LearnLaunchX...Read more»

By: Ki Mae Heussner