UPenn School of Ed Launches Education Technology Incubator

A start-up incubator has been launched at the University of Pennsylvania that could allow excellent education-related business ideas to get off the ground and running. It is called Education Design Studio Inc, and has received as much as $2.1 million in funding and additional backing from other investors, as reported by Dian Schaffhauser of Campus Technology.

Thus far the majority of the people taking part in the project are finalists from an education business competition that was completed earlier in the year. However, moving forward the project hopes to generate attention that will lead to a larger pool of ideas and participants.

The project also hopes that there will be an increase in communication between researchers, investors, entrepreneurs and those people in the education segment.

"It's a natural fit for Penn [Graduate School of Ed] because its emphasis on incorporating cutting-edge education research into innovative education start-ups plays to our strengths, including building upon our success with the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition," said Andy Porter, dean of the school.

During the first year 5 startups will be taking part in the project: Apidapter, ApprenNet, Autism Expressed, Raise Labs and Scribble. Each of the companies taking part in the project will get not only financial backing but also during the initial year of business they will get help with marketing, legal, and technology from graduate school's faculty and the program's sponsors.

They'll also get the chance to try out their technologies, where appropriate, with prospective customers in schools or companies. Start-up principals have committed to attending training sessions and doing online collaboration during the program for six months.

Having the ability for the startup companies to try out their technology in the field in such a way will be an instant boost, as the technology can be evaluated and modifications will be made which will only improve the chances of the business having a successful product valued by schools.

 "This partnership presents a unique opportunity to combine the experience of our extensive in-house network of digital content developers with one of the leading and most entrepreneurial education schools in the country," said Stephen Laster, chief digital officer of McGraw-Hill Education.

The expertise to which the businesses will have access should increase their chances of being successful into the future as opposed to being just another startup that fails a few years down the line.

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