After traveling the world to find out “how to learn and teach with digital” tools and meeting with numerous startups, HEC graduate Svenia Busson had a revelation: “While EdTech startups may have brilliant ideas, worldwide they are struggling to access markets, testing grounds and experts, especially teachers and researchers who can teach them about the best ways to learn.”
This revelation led Busson to launch the EdTech accelerator LearnSpace, which connects startups with researchers, teachers and businesses in addition to cognitive science and psychology PhD students on staff. Partners like Google, Accenture and Carrefour will provide startups with testing grounds and feedback so they can “create a truly effective educational product.”
Tried and True
Although IBIS Capital estimates that the international EdTech market will be worth nearly €260 billion in 2020, EdTech accelerators are rare. LearnSpace is the first of its kind in France. The accelerator intends to differentiate itself from recent competitors like NEOMA Business School's upcoming program “by focusing not on higher education but on lifelong learning, ” says Busson. Additionally, all European startups are eligible to apply for the English-language program.
Busson hopes to put an end to “digital solutions that copy one of the many private online course platforms. Digital can be very effective at student retention and making learning fun but I’ve seen too many tools that look great in the classroom but whose impact has not been verified. Their design needs to be more rigorous,” she adds. Hence the idea of partnering with mentors to teach startups to “communicate with buyers and influencers, who frequently are not the end users, and create tools that speak to everyone.”
The first cohort of five to ten startups will arrive in Paris in mid-May. The personalized ten-week program includes master classes on topics like fundraising and pitches and a demo day with potential investors. Funding sources include three-year business partnerships with publishing and tutoring companies and 3–5% in equity from participating startups.
Camille Pons, Translated by Nina Fink | Publié le