MIT-created edtech startup Authess, a member of LearnLaunchX Accelerator’s spring 2015 class, has created a product that submits candidates or current employees to complex, open-ended, job-specific problems rather than personality or aptitude tests. They believe their complex analyses of people’s actions in real-world scenarios will provide employers with the best indicator of how efficiently and competently one will perform in a given role, not just how well someone tests or how suitable his or her background is. Their product—based on machine learning and data analytics—can broaden opportunity, close skill gaps, and reduce organizational risk.
What’s the Achilles’ heel of many edtech entrepreneurs? They’re brilliant and successful.
It’s not their fault, of course. Through a combination of natural ability, hard work, and outstanding support, they’ve come to excel in their chosen areas. But this means they may be unaware of what it’s like to be an average college student in the U.S.—and even less knowledgeable about the students who stand to gain the most from educational technology.
In a recent Xconomy article about Boston’s booming EdTech cluster, noted venture capitalist Jeff Bussgang rightly points out that Boston has all the right ingredients for a thriving EdTech sector. The 400+ EdTech companies and 20,000+ industry jobs clearly support that premise. But, Bussgang sanguinely concludes, “there’s been no breakout edtech company in Boston.”
Knowledge to Practice (K2P), an early-stage technology startup with two years of dynamic performance in postgraduate medical education, delivers personalized and adaptive lifelong learning solutions. Their subscription model—shown to be three times as effective at increasing knowledge compared to leading competitors in this space—allows clinicians to keep their certification active, their knowledge of advancements current, and their patients content.
PlayPosit (formerly eduCanon), an online learning environment transforming any online video into an active experience for students, has widened its scope to reach even more customers. Though their roots are still in K-12, they now support higher education, including over a dozen universities. Furthermore, while they maintain a strong pedagogical advantage in the market, they’ve also pivoted to include corporate clients, ensuring, for example, that all new employees at a company get the appropriate and most effective on-demand training. New permutations of the platform fitting each unique case have been built, yet the formula is still the same—make use of what keeps learners most engaged and results in the greatest learning outcomes.
QuadWrangle—a company designing tools for improved engagement and communication in alumni communities in the form of analytics for schools and personalized content for alumni—is poised for a big year ahead. This month they’re rolling out the web portal and email solutions to their platform to complement their mobile app and analytics tools that have been in-market for three years. Within the next four months, several of their new partners will be coming online. And in order to support and optimize this growth, there are expanding internally as well.
LearnLaunch Accelerator, one of the world’s leading education technology startup program, is now accepting applications for its next accelerator program. The LearnLaunch Accelerator’s BOOST program is a 3-month business accelerator designed to foster the growth of early-stage edtech startups to help them get to the next level.
Education and the education technology (edtech) sector have grown to become a significant part of the Massachusetts economic engine and have fueled the Commonwealth’s rise to global prominence as a leader in education.
For the past fifteen years Boeing and Caltech have collaborated closely on developing systems integration technology. As part of their agreement Boeing helps fund university labs and graduate stipends and the two parties have streamlined the process of intellectual property transfer. By partnering with Caltech, Boeing gets access to cutting edge engineering expertise.
Walk out of LearnLaunch’s South Boston Location and you won’t have to wander far before you come across a company born from a collaboration between industry and academia. Think about Akamai or Bose, for example, two companies co-founded by MIT professors.
We all create silos out of fear, necessity, and sometimes by chance. By finding the path of least resistance we can secure ourselves in a position that allows for survival but not necessarily growth. Of course there are ways to promote growth, evolution, and dare I say…innovation. However that requires collaboration with the people, departments, and separate units from which you’ve separated yourself. My focus is higher education but I assume this is endemic in most sectors. As I see co-dependencies become increasingly obvious in the higher education and the Edtech space, I wonder: how different could this possibly be from corporations trying to drive change? We’re all human, right?