DeVry Group, 1871 Team Up For Education Technology Incubator

DeVry Education Group has partnered with 1871 in the creation of a new education technology incubator.

The EdTech Incubator will include 6-10 start-up companies annually whose focus is on improving teaching and learning in higher education.  DeVry, which currently operates a for-profit network of schools that enrolls more than 100,000 students, will offer mentorship to the companies from its own educational leaders, as well as feedback, and will also try out the most promising new ideas on its own students.

DeVry has tried out programs in the past from start-up companies such as one from Civitas Learning, a Texas-based company that aims to better analyze student performance.  The start-up created a way to better identify specific scores that will indicate the future success of individual students.  “It changed how we rated test scores,” Mr. Dunn told John Pletz for Chicago Business. “We first engaged them over two years ago. It was very much a co-creation. We learned firsthand what works.”

The goal of the program is to create new technologies across a variety of academic needs.

“DeVry Education Group’s diverse institutions provide a global test kitchen that can help startups create innovative educational technology and validate their beta products,” said Jeff Dunn, senior director of research and development at DeVry Education Group. “Working together, we can quickly assess the technology’s potential impact on a wide range of student experiences.”

DeVry will also hold business education workshops for startup companies involved geared toward helping them grow and succeed.  Events for higher-education experts will also be created.

The incubator will not have any financial holdings to the companies it serves.

DeVry will recruit two groupings of three to five startup companies, each focused on a separate educational topic or specific student need.  Companies are expected to be able to move into 1871’s 25,000-square-foot office space on October 15.  The space will also house other sector-specific incubators.

“At 1871, we’re working to enable entrepreneurs to address some of education’s biggest challenges,” said Howard A. Tullman, 1871 CEO. “Chicago’s vast network of schools, educators and students presents a wide range of opportunities for technology to dramatically improve the way students receive education. These start-ups will offer flexibility, ease of access, cost-effectiveness and the ability to transform every student’s educational experience based on individual abilities and needs.”

1871 has previously aimed to help businesses owned by women, veterans, and real-estate ventures as part of an initiative created by CEO Howard Tullman to increase corporate sponsorship and try to create more interest in start-ups among large companies.  Other incubators in the works for the company include those in the fields of food, financial technology, Internet of Everything and start-up engineering.

Applications for the start-ups are currently being accepted nationwide.  Those chosen will be considered across a variety of criteria, including new approaches to teaching, learning, and improving student outcomes.