Penn State, DreamIt Collaborate on Education Technology Accelerator


Penn State University and top business accelerator DreamIt are joining forces to help launch an Ed Tech accelerator in 2016.

The collaboration will start next spring and aims to solve ed tech problems in primary and secondary education as well as in the fields of adult learning, digital learning, and higher education. Submissions by startups are already open, with the accelerator scheduled to commence on March 16.

DreamIt, a NYC and Philadelphia-based accelerator, will offer mentorship to startups and entrepreneurs for four months along with funding up to $100,000. The business accelerator will also support startups by giving them access to a global network of companies and key industry players.

Selected startups and entrepreneurs will not have to move their businesses, as they will have access to their mentors and curriculum through a digital platform, but they will be  expected to spend one week every month at one of the DreamIt hubs in New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, and at least one week at Penn State’s University Park campus.

Penn State University will provide its faculty and facilities to the project, Ed Surge says. Under this partnership, the institution will have the opportunity to recruit its students as DreamIt interns and as startup staff, they reveal.

The accelerator wants entrepreneurs to tackle education issues that pertain to student support, online learning, Virtual Reality learning, student career services, and student data analytics. The selected group of entrepreneurs will have four months to develop and de-risk their Ed Tech startups with support from DreamIt and with access to its worldwide network, Penn State University said.

Craig Weidemann, Penn State vice president for Outreach and vice provost for Online Education, highlighted in his comments that the promising project will solidify Penn State’s leading position in digital learning:

“This partnership will advance the entrepreneurial and economic development strategies of Invent Penn State and the EdTech Network while helping to ensure Penn State maintains leadership in online learning,” Dian Schaffhauser of The Journal reports on the story.

Weidemann added how DreamIt Ed Tech brings together education and the marketplace:

“More importantly, the DreamIt collaboration will provide a platform for Penn State leaders, faculty, staff and students to gain a firsthand experience in learning about the entrepreneurial process.”

For DreamIt’s part, Avi Savar, the company’s CEO, said the collaboration with Penn State will give entrepreneurs the support and tools they need to create groundbreaking solutions and at the same time bring entrepreneurs closer to key industry leaders.

The DreamIt EdTech venture is similar to a previous project by the top-10 accelerator. Previously, DreamIt launched DreamIt Health with a partnership with leaders in the health industry. As Juliana Ryes of the Technically Philly says, the model DreamIt emulates with DreamIt EdTech has been successful in the past because it allows everyone involved to pilot the products they develop.