More Startup Companies Eye $90 Billion Education Technology Market

The education technology market is attracting technology companies such as Google, Apple and Microsoft — but it's not only the largest corporations taking notice of the ed sector. Technology companies, entrepreneurs and investors are keen to tap a $90 billion education technology market, according to Brian Feldt of St. Louis Business Journal.

For small business, education technology is the hottest industry, according to a report by Business Finance Store.

More than half of chief academic officers believe online teaching is critical to their long-term strategy of educating students, according to a report by IBIS Capital that looked at the opportunity of e-learning in America.

Recently, legislative tracking startup TrakBill hosted roundtable discussion of tech players in St. Louis, Mo., on getting more tech startups involved in the education space. "St. Louis is quietly forming a solid roster of tech startups focused on improving the quality of education both locally and beyond."

In addition to tech companies, officials from St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay's office and venture capital firms also participated in the conference talk about how tech can play a larger role in education in the city.

Schools across the country are embracing online education and more classroom technology because of its potential to be cost effective and a better fit for the modern world, opening doors for both developers and schools alike. And as school boards continue to feel the pinch of shrinking budgets, adapting to the technical world is key, said Code Red Education founder Michael Palmer.

To better educate students on real world skills such as computer programming, St. Louis startup Code Red Education makes a computer science and entrepreneurial curriculum for first through 12th graders.

According to Palmer, students must have necessary computer skills to get quality jobs upon completing their educational career. He said that most schools are not teaching computer programming students need to get quality jobs.

"Most districts are teaching computer keyboarding to students as many as three times," he said. "Students already know how to type. They need to learn how to write programs and make websites."

AngelList, a platform that lists startups by industry, estimates more than 3,000 startup companies currently concentrated on education technology are looking for funding. Each of those companies is looking to tap a market that is worth billions of dollars — $500 million in St. Louis alone, Palmer estimates.

In addition to Code Red Education, Crazy for Education is a St. Louis startup that was launched in 2012 to offer a flipped teaching platform free to use for teachers and students. The company has raised $250,000 since being founded.

Crazy for Education plans to sell its video library to students not affiliated with teachers using the program for just under $20 per month.

Ed Mass, chief operating officer for Crazy For Education, said the company is hoping to attract as many as a million students when its rolls out its video library for purchase. That would put annual income for the startup in the $19 million range.

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