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Why a Company with More than $1M in Revenue Joined LearnLaunch Accelerator

Technology has revolutionized the way we learn and operate, impacting aspects of life as vital as the health care we receive. The rate of development in medicine and medical technology is unprecedented today, yet large academic medical centers and health-care systems are under crushing pressure to quickly deliver patient outcomes and reduce readmissions. As a result, the education of postgraduate physicians remains antiquated, ineffective, and inefficient. It could even be said that postgraduate medical education is in crisis. Knowledge to Practice (K2P), a company in the third cohort of LearnLaunch Accelerator, aims to solve this problem and to heighten clinical excellence by transforming how expertise is shared and learned among clinicians worldwide. K2P founder and CEO, Mary Ellen Beliveau, is passionate about this problem and has devoted her career to transforming patient care by improving the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of physicians. LearnLaunch sat down with Mary Ellen to find out how meeting LearnLaunch Partner Jean Hammond at an MIT course on entrepreneurial development kick-started a chain of events that would irrevocably change K2P.   What stage was your company at when you applied to LearnLaunch Accelerator? MEB: We were just under 1 year old with over $1M in revenue, so I guess we were just beyond validation and moving into growth.   Why did you come to LearnLaunch Accelerator at that later stage? MEB: The depth and pace of our success took us by surprise. We realized we had more than we had envisioned on our hands in terms of the value and quality of our product. We needed to step back, reevaluate our go-to-market strategy and business...

Katrina Stevens Keynotes LearnLaunch Community Demo Day

Katrina Stevens, Senior Advisor in the Federal Department of Education, was our keynote speaker at LearnLaunch Community Demo Day Wednesday night at Nutter, McClennan and Fish in the Innovation District. Katrina brings a wealth of experience to her role as Senior Advisor in the US Dept. of Education.  She was an high school English teacher;  a leader at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth,  a leader in district professional development for the CCSS and NGSS in Baltimore County Schools, a curriculum designer and  Edsurge writer,  a moving force behind the creation of Maryland’s  edtech community.   The Office of Educational Technology recently released the Edtech Developers Guide and Katrina is on a road trip to 20 cities to introduce it.  Take a look! It is an exciting time in education technology,  and Katrina pointed out that in the next two years 70k K-12 schools will get High speed broadband;  which is out of the total of 100,000 K-12 schools.    That will expand the market of schools prepared to move to more digital learning environments. She highlighted ten opportunities for technology to transform teaching and learning in K-12 schools: Improving mastery of academic skills Developing skills to promote lifelong learning Increasing family engagement Planning for future education opportunities Designing effective assessments Improving educator professional development Improving educator productivity Making learning accessible to all students Closing opportunity gaps Closing achievement gaps Katrina was passionate about the need for attention to equity as the use of digital tools in schools is expanded.   She worries that there is a possibility that opportunity gaps might be widened if richer districts adopt digital learning tools...

Leading the Edtech Capital of the World: LearnLaunch Accelerator’s Cohort 3 Shines Bright at Investor Demo Day

Guest Author: Anokhee Mepani, Founder of Learn to Love, a nonprofit that delivers education & healthcare to differently-abled children in need in India On a warm Wednesday evening in early June, over 200 investors and edtech industry leaders came to District Hall for LearnLaunch’s third cohort’s “coming out” party. The evening began with some cookies and mingling, and ended with some wine and more mingling, with quite a bit in between. The event’s emcee, Christopher Mirabile (Co-Managing Director of Launchpad Venture Group and Chair-Elect of the Angel Capital Association), made clear the cohort’s perseverance and dedication to education when he reminded us just how special the cohort was. Each startup began just days after Boston was hit with 21 inches of snow, and later a total of 75 more inches. Yet not a single company let that delay their progress; each team worked tirelessly day in and day out, regardless of the weather. And their hard work showed brilliantly when they got up on stage and told their story. Before the stars of the show took over, keynote speaker Secretary of Education Jim Peyser reminded us all that though Massachusetts has the highest performing public education system in the country, we still have a lot of work to do. He cautioned that success can foster a sense of complacency, but though we have seen great success in Massachusetts, we can never be complacent when it comes to education. Throughout his more than 12 years in education reform, he has never believed in technology for technology’s sake. Rather, targeted and specific uses of technology to provide new, better, and cheaper...

Deciding to Grow QuadWrangle with LearnLaunch Accelerator

In late 2013, QuadWrangle was just figuring itself out. We knew we had something—but our execution was a bit nebulous. How do we talk about ourselves? What metrics should we be focused on? How do we grow the right way?

Boston’s LearnLaunch Accelerator Showcases Six Transformative Edtech Companies to Financial and Strategic Investors at 3rd Annual Demo Day

LearnLaunch Accelerator, one of the world’s leading education technology startup programs, today hosted its third Demo Day at District Hall in Seaport, South Boston, Mass. Entrepreneurs from six education technology startups pitched their innovative technology products and business plans developed during LearnLaunch Accelerator’s immersive, four-month program to a packed room of more than 200 angel investors, venture capitalists and education leaders. Now in its third year, LearnLaunch Accelerator attracts edtech startups from around the world. Tackling some of education’s toughest problems, each of the startups received seed funding, participated in LearnLaunch Accelerator’s intensive four-month mentoring and business development program, and received access to services and office space at LearnLaunch Campus. Mentors included successful technology and education entrepreneurs, investors and educators. “This group of companies approached very specific, targeted niches and is creating some of the most promising technology solutions in education,” said Liam Pisano, Managing Director for LearnLaunch. “They all have made tremendous progress and have benefited from the immersive curriculum and robust network, highlighting our ability to serve both pre-revenue and revenue generating companies.” In addition to the companies’ presentations, Demo Day featured a panel discussion on exits in edtech featuring Bill Collatos, co-founder of Spectrum Equity, and Matt Greenfield, co-founder of Rethink Education, as well as a welcome from Massachusetts Secretary of Education Jim Peyser. “Edtech has been an area of interest for us for several years. As represented in the recent sale of Lynda.com to LinkedIn, it is an area exhibiting substantial growth, value and compelling investment opportunity,” said Bill Collatos, co-founder of Spectrum Equity. “At Rethink Education, we are seeing a broad range of opportunities,” said Matt...

Applications Now Open for Fourth Edtech Cohort Program

LearnLaunch Accelerator, Boston’s leading education technology startup program, announced today that it’s now accepting applications for its fall 2015 cohort class. Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. on June 30, 2015. “We are seeing steady growth of the startup edtech ecosystem in Boston, creating technologies to transform learning in K-12, higher-ed environments, and educational infrastructure,” said Liam Pisano, Managing Director at LearnLaunch. “From around the world, the best and brightest entrepreneurs continue to come to LearnLaunch to get strategic help and insight into how to navigate the education industry.” Now in its third year, the LearnLaunch Accelerator program is a business accelerator designed to help grow education technology businesses, drive innovation, and transform learning. After a highly selective process, up to eight edtech startups are chosen to participate in a four-month intensive residential program at LearnLaunch Campus, Boston’s only co-working space dedicated to edtech startups. The unique industry-specific program provides the companies with $18K in seed funding, industry-specific mentors, more than $50K in free office space and discounted services, networking opportunities, and intensive, hands-on mentoring and personalized support, making it one of the leading programs focused solely on the needs of the edtech startup. The program attracts over 90 mentors that are influencers and thought leaders from the business, government, and education sectors. Launched in 2013, the LearnLaunch Accelerator program has invested in 19 companies in the education technology sector; today over 600,000 students, teachers and alumni are using their products. Alumni include Listen Current, eduCanon, CueThink, Hstry, and uConnect. The companies range from identity management to authentic assessment, medical recertification to 3D toys, grammar apps to tools for...

10 Q&A’s about edX and Open edX

Guest blog post by: Warren Hawkins, Student, Harvard Graduate School of Education Beth Porter, VP of Product Management at edX, hosted a class for the LearnLaunch community on April 14, 2015 at the edX offices in Kendall Square, Cambridge. Beth presented an update on edX as well as laying out the opportunity for developers and educators to build on Open edX. Furqan Nazeeri of Extension Engine reviewed how his organization is building a business extending Open edX. How are higher education institutions using MOOCs? According to Porter, there are four main ways higher education institutions are utilizing MOOCs to advance their missions. Many universities are now reaching out to new audiences with the courses their faculty hosts on edX. Universities like Harvard and MIT are leading research efforts to better understand the impact MOOCs have on learning. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Indiana University are offering for-credit, distance learning that provides them a scalable source of revenue. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and The University of Pennsylvania are exploring post-graduation course offerings to cultivate alumni engagement and provide continuing education for specific fields. Lastly, universities are leveraging MOOCs as a method of student recruitment, placement, and preparation. The University of Pennsylvania even offers a MOOC entitled “Applying to U.S. Universities.” How should edX be extended? Porter sees opportunities for innovation on the edX MOOC platform, including building online learning communities, providing personalized learning, automating assessment of short answers, and Making sense out of the tremendous wealth of data and analytics captured by the platform. How do companies use MOOCs? Corporate education is...

Hstry goes to Capitol Hill to discuss immigration issues for entrepreneurs

Guest Author: Thomas Ketchell, CEO of Hstry – a graduate of LearnLaunch Accelerator It’s not everyday you get invited to the White House and it was with nervous excitement that I joined a group of 15 immigrant tech entrepreneurs from across the United States all sent to Washington to speak to officials, members of Congress and their staff. We had a clear message going into these meetings: it’s well past time for legislative reform to ensure the best and brightest can come here to build their businesses, grow the economy and create American jobs.   US immigration policies are forcing foreign-born startup founders with capital and employees out of the country, effectively sending thousands of well paid high-skilled jobs overseas. The foreign-born founders (like us at Hstry) would much rather be here in the United States contributing jobs, taxes, and innovation to the economy. We have blogged previously about how the US immigration system is flawed for entrepreneurs. If you wish to discuss these issues in the classroom, I suggest you take a look at our interactive timeline and accompanying lesson plan (which can be found on the app when you sign-in). Our friends at the American Immigration Council also have some great resources to get your students engaged in these important topics. The “fly-in” was organized by the folks at FWD.us and the National Immigration Forum. The power of having fifteen entrepreneurs share their story made me realize not only how the system is actually damaging the American economy but also how it affects the immigrants themselves who often have to be parted from their families. All the entrepreneurs that day have good stories but I...

Six Essentials to Selling to K-12 Schools

Guest blog post by: Warren Hawkins, Student, Harvard Graduate School of Education Selling to schools can be complicated, drawn-out, and ultimately disheartening for many early stage edtech companies. However, there are strategies you can implement that will improve your outcomes. Last Wednesday, Jillian Hufnagel, vice president of sales and operations at Private School Innovator, shared her thoughts on maximizing the fruition to frustration ratio of a K-12 private school sales campaign. 1) Hone your message. You dial the number of a target school and after a few rings hear, “This is Sharon of X Academy, how may I help you?” What is your pitch? If you don’t know or it takes you more than 15 seconds to deliver it, you need to invest more time in developing your pitch. It’s critical to tailor your message to the needs of the person and school on the other end of the call or email. Through research, questioning, and being conversational, you can identify specific pain points that your product addresses and make these the core of your pitch. Regularly schedule internal sales meetings for your team to practice and provide feedback on pitches. 2) Expect pushback. A strong pitch alone will not close the deal. From budget constraints to implementation concerns, schools will have a multitude of objections and you’ll need to be ready to address each one. For example, let’s say you call a school to promote a digital resource and are told, “sounds interesting, but we can’t put any student information online.” It’s helpful to meet with your CTO to gain a better understanding of your company’s technology and...

Mobile App Development in Edtech Class Recap

Last week, LearnLaunch held an engaging class on mobile app development in edtech at Localytics. The class covered a variety of topics from mobile app trends to business models to go-to-market strategies. Panelists included Raj Aggarwal of Localytics, Ted Collins of Playrific, and Scott Weiner of NeuEon and Parents with Apps. The key to app development, according to the panelists, is to make an app that’s really useable. Building great software is hard and it’s an iterative process: you need to be a “feedback machine”. Highlights from the class can be found below. App Stores • App stores are marketing tools. If your app provides value, downloads will drop immediately within three days of launching your app and then will increase slowly. • The smaller the app store, the easier it is to create a relationship, get noticed, and get more users. • Your app description should be no more than five words long – discoverability is key. • The icon needs to be easy to see. Use big eyes or sparkles. • The first review is the most important because it affects sales. If it’s a bad review, you need to figure out how to push it down. • There is little visibility into how people got to your product. Having a website that drives traffic to your app makes it easier to track web flows. You also receive no analytics from app stores to help you improve your app. Which apps store is best? Learn about the pros and cons of each store below. Apple • No appeal process if they pull your app from the app...