LearnLaunch today announces its formation as a non-profit fostering the creation and growth of learning and education technology companies and the ed tech business cluster across New England. Founded by visionary investors and education technology leaders, LearnLaunch provides support to entrepreneurs at critical stages of their development to reach their next level of growth through access to peers, investors, mentors, and potential users. LearnLaunch has already identified over 150 education technology and learning startups in New England.
LearnLaunch also announces its first conference: “Across Boundaries: Innovation & The Future of Education.” The conference will examine the potential of technology to tangibly improve learning and education access, and explore market and investment opportunities; February 1-2, 2013, MIT Tang Center, Cambridge, MA (http://learnlaunchconference2013.eventbrite.com). The conference coincides with Digital Learning Day on February 6, 2013 and will involve teachers as both panelists and participants, as well as showcase successful instructional technology in classrooms nationwide.
LearnLaunch brings together innovators, K-12 and higher ed educators, investors, students, school leaders, buyers and distribution channels, and provides structured services such as classes, forums, conferences and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs. It also streamlines and enriches communication between investors and entrepreneurs, and incorporates two established Boston organizations, EdTechup and Kids Club, each of which was founded by LearnLaunch principals.
Christopher Gabrieli, Chairman of the National Center on Time and Learning and Partner, Bessemer Venture Partners, notes: “LearnLaunch aims to focus attention and build demand for innovative solutions in education, and will be an important resource for New England area entrepreneurs.”
While venture capital firms have not historically invested substantially in education technology start-ups, investor interest in this sector has recently grown appreciably. In 2011, 134 ed tech companies nationwide received venture funding, the largest number in the past 10 years.
“Boston has a distinctive education heritage and the foundation to build scalable companies in this sector, which promises dramatic expansion. LearnLaunch will provide unique sector support, as well as leverage the existing resources in the Boston innovation ecosystem,” said Jeff Bussgang, General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners.
Andrew Joseph, President and Co-Founder, TenMarks Education, observes: “LearnLaunch will be a valuable resource to the ed tech community in Boston that will help accelerate the development of innovative learning solutions. Having a place where we can collaborate with and learn from other companies, educators and policy makers is something that will help TenMarks deliver solutions that enable teachers to get great outcomes with their students.”
Marissa Lowman, Co-Founder and Executive Director: Marissa founded EdTechup and previously drove sales and marketing for AisleBuyer (acquired by Intuit NASDAQ: INTU). She has taught as a Fulbright Fellow, worked with Teach For America and helped establish the National Partnership for Educational Access (NPEA).
Jean Hammond, Co-Founder: Jean founded JPH Associates, co-founded AXON Networks (acquired by 3Com, now Hewlett-Packard, NYSE: HPQ) and Quarry Networks. Jean is a member of Hub Angels, the Launchpad Venture Group, founded the Boston Forum of Golden Seeds and is a board member or board observer for more than 25 startups.
Eileen Rudden, Co-Founder: Eileen founded Sankaty Growth Partners, was Chief Officer of College and Career Preparation for the Chicago Public School System and was a 2009 Broad Fellow. She is the Board Chair of SoundBite Communications (NASDAQ: SDBT), and was Vice President and General Manager of Avaya’s Unified Communications Division. She chairs Brown University’s Advisory Committee on Computing and Information Technology and serves as a board member for several leading education and academic organizations, including the Pew Center on the Internet and American Life
Co-Founder Eileen Rudden concludes: “I was struck when I moved back to Boston in the fall of 2011 at the level of excitement and activity in the learning and ed tech space. I attended EdTechups, which have brought together over 800 people, and Kids Club meetings, which have engaged over 50 companies in collaborative peer learning. I found close to 150 startups and dozens of growth firms. Jean, Marissa and I want to see the ecosystem grow even more rapidly to create value for entrepreneurs, educators, investors and students.”
LearnLaunch aims to increase learning by providing support for the creation and growth of education technology and learning companies in New England. Supporting Resources: