Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the first LearnLaunch conference at the MIT Tang Center. The purpose of LearnLaunch is to provide support for the creation and growth of edtech startups in New England. It was a really wonderful conference…for me it was the most like-minded group of professionals that I’ve been with in a long time.
For those who couldn’t attend or were unaware of the conference, I wanted to share my big takeaways from the meetings. You’ll have to imagine my David Letterman voice.
Top 10 Takeaways for Edupreneurs from LearnLaunch 2013:
10. If you serve teachers and students well, you are less likely to see your business model going away. (Matt Greenfield, Rethink Education, @mattgreenfield)
9. If you’re an edupreneur you should participate in an incubator or accelerator that is industry-specific. (Jennifer Carolan, NewSchools Venture Fund, @nsvfSEED)
8. Inertia is the entrepreneur’s biggest competitor because people are change-averse. (Roger Matus, @rogermat)
7. Edupreneurs need to prove they can build businesses; do they have paid adoption, do they have a sales model. (Eileen Rudden, LearnLaunch, @eileenrudden)
6. Measuring outcomes will become a more common metric for value (Matt Witheiler, Flybridge Capital Partners, @witheiler)
5. Fear of the edtech bubble is because of Bay Area over-valuation of companies with high user-adoption rates but no established monetization. (Tony Wan, EdSurge, @edsurge)
4. If CCSS has teeth, the performance gap will get much bigger. (Seth Reynolds, The Parthenon Group, @Parthenon_Group)
3. Teams need experience in education, understanding selling to school districts. (Christopher Nyren, Educated Ventures, @CNyren)
2. We see a lot of edtech startups that have too much mission and not enough business model. (Jean Hammond, LearnLaunch, @jeanhammond)
And the number 1 takeaway from LearnLaunch 2013…
1. Educators to edupreneurs: We don’t care about your MVP. (John Katzman, Noodle, @NoodleEducation)
And just for fun, here’s a bonus item, shared by a school superintendent who shall remain anonymous, “We won’t even look at a product that requires us to buy Professional Development to figure out how to use it. We want simple. Like Apple.” I think we can all agree that there are a bunch of edtech companies that are in big trouble if that opinion becomes the norm!
Were you at LearnLaunch too? What were your big takeaways?