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This past week, edtech entrepreneurs, investors and analysts congregated at ASU+GSV, a yearly global edtech conference, to reflect on the sector’s newfound spotlight after the massive jolt of COVID-19. Bullish signs were evident beyond the masked joy at finally meeting Twitter friends in person.
Startup cup winner was a digital-first platform that develops talent for interns who once did not have the product-market fit. All of my panels included newly-minted startup unicorns. The conference grew from an industry event to one that was more generalized for new founders.
My takeaway from the entire week, though, was more than edtech is booming (which, it is). Instead, the consensus at the conference was not that edtech is booming (despite polite disagreements).
In other words: edtech doesn’t have to rely solely on its own ability to achieve its goals. It can operate outside of a silo, which feels like the needed follow-up to the sector’s 2020.
If a platform offers fun UX for instruction online, but fails to consider how it will impact childcare, mental healthcare, and the digital divide, its smart solution won’t have the same effect. Companies may start to offer products that consider the human experience, as well as consolidating their businesses, which is what will happen due to newly minted unicorns.
BetterUp is a platform that reskills and coaches employees, and it has already begun to signal this. The edtech company announced that it is diving more into behavioral health with new products.
It is important to think beyond the edtech industry insiders. This allows you to create products that challenge the status-quo or reinforce it. Many of Fiveable’s users have become interns through the virtual platform that allows high school students to express and study. Although the feedback loop is harsh, high school students are very hard on each other — it also means that those making the decisions aren’t just adults speaking to them.
Startups can go wild because there are no training wheels. Remote school could become normal as the epidemic unfolds unevenly. Remote schools will become more common as companies are more focused and less humble about the reach they can achieve. It is important to reflect on what makes a Course Hero different from a Codecademy or a Coursera, and how they decide to move beyond their lane.
Talking to those behind our educational future was an amazing, surreal experience. Pandemic shock brought out the need to address inequalities and the work that remains. The spotlight is now part cheerleader and part coach to help edtech achieve a better product.
Venture capital is still relevant
The question of whether traditional venture capitalists are able to adapt in the face of nontraditional investors investing in private startups is becoming a major topic of debate within Silicon Valley. Where do you go for relevancy and competitive advantage when Tigers are eating your lunch?
Deals and Dollars aren’t enough to explain it.
“Regulatory fabric can either add to or subtract from the company’s wealth.”
A startup’s success or failure can be affected by regulations. In an op-ed this week, Plug & Play Ventures’ Noorjit Sidhu argued that regulatory fabric — even when complicated — can help founders navigate if getting into a gray area of innovation is even worth it.
These are the facts:Regulations are important, but it is ironic that Uber was unable to be iconic due to its failure to comply with regulations in its initial launch. The rules are often ignored by disruption.
The end of red tape:
Have you ever thought of maps before?
What do you know that no one else talks about? Maps. Maps are a great medium for companies and consumers to communicate space and relevance visually. However, it’s not easy to spin up a map due to the complex nature of maps (from the curvature and how space uses up space)
These are the facts:Felt just finished stealth and wants maps to be mainstream.To date, $4.5 Million has been raised for its mapping softwareThis is an example of how climate change can be used to bring energy back into old products.
Publited at Sun, 15 August 2021 00.17.56 +0000