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Edtech investors, entrepreneurs, and analysts met last week at ASU + GSV to discuss the sector’s newfound spotlight following the shock of COVID-19. There were also signs of bullism evident, aside from the obvious excitement at finally getting to know Twitter friends in person.
Startup trophy went to a platform for digital-first talent development that enables interns to find a product market. My panels included newly founded startup unicorns. The conference evolved from an industry gathering to become a larger event for new founders.
My conclusion was that Edtech is booming, which is true. Instead, I felt the conference was so positive that even though it was politely disapproved of, the overall mood in the room suggested that the sector being highlighted finally had consented to be there.
Edtech is now able to go beyond its own goals. It can function outside of a silo. This feels like the necessary continuation for the sector’s 2020.
If a platform brings the fun of UX to online education but fails to consider how it will affect childcare, mental health, or the digital divide, its impact on the market will be limited. Newly minted unicorns will lead to Edtech taking Edtech in. However, you might also see companies bringing products to market that consider the whole human experience.
BetterUp, an online retraining and coaching platform that supports employees in all levels of the organization, is a sign that this is already happening. The edtech company revealed that it is expanding its focus on behavioral health through new products.
It is important to think beyond Edtech insiders. This will make the difference between creating products that only reinforce the status-quo and creating products that change the status quo. Fiveable, a virtual place for high school students to express themselves and learn, has hosted dozens of its users. It is a vicious feedback loop – high schoolers can be tough – but it also means that people making decisions for them aren’t adults talking to adults.
Startups can break away from established companies because there are no training wheels. Distance learning may become normal again, as the pandemic is developing unevenly. Businesses should be proud of their reach and humble. It will be crucial to consider what differentiates a Course Hero, a Codecademy, or a Coursera. Also, when it is logical to leave your track.
It was a surreal, refreshing week meeting the people behind the ideas and dollars that will shape our future educational landscape. The pandemic shock has made it clear that there are still injustices to be addressed. Edtech’s path to better products will now be part cheerleading, part accountability coach.
Venture capital’s relevance
Silicon Valley is increasingly concerned about the future of traditional venture capitalists as more non-traditional investors enter private startups. Where can you find competitive advantage and relevance when tigers eat lunch?
Here are some things you need to know:Some people believe venture capital is dead. Some people believe it is more complex. Everyone agrees that the asset category needs to reconsider how and when it invests capital.
It’s not a matter of dollars and deals.
“Regulatory structures can increase the or decrease assets of a business”
A regulation can suspend or limit commissioning. In a comment earlier this week, Noorjit Sidhu of Plug & Play Ventures argued that regulatory structures – even if they are complicated – can help founders get their bearings, if it is even worth getting into a gray area of innovation.
Here are some things you need to know:Regulations are important but it’s ironic Uber didn’t pay attention to them in its early days of adoption. Disturbances can make it difficult to follow the rules.
The green revolution in bureaucracy:
Have you ever thought about playing cards before?
Are you able to identify the subject matter that is being ignored? Cards. It is an effective medium for businesses and consumers to visually communicate space and importance. However, it is difficult to simply rotate a map due to the complexity of maps (from the curvature and the space it occupies)
Here are some things you need to know:Felt, who has just stepped out from stealth this week to make cards mainstream, hopes to do so. Its mapping software, which has raised $4.5 million so far, is an example of how climate change can be used to energize older products.
Climate change leaders:
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