Business and Digital Learning Provider Path

Are you part of a startup company that creates educational products? Do you want to learn more about current trends and exciting new innovations in the edtech market? If so, then the Digital Learning Providers Path should be right for you! Learn more from industry experts on how companies of all sizes are making waves in the edtech marketplace.

*Please note that some times do overlap. It is up to you as a participant to choose what session you prefer.

A Unified K-12 Tech Platform

Panelists: Seth Reynolds, Managing Director, Parthenon-EY; Oliver Wreford, Vice President, Strategy & Marketing, PowerSchool; Elizabeth Combs, Managing Director, Frontline Research and Learning Institute

Date: Friday, February 3, 2017
Time: 11:30 am – 12:15 pm

PowerSchool is the Student Information Systems (SIS) for more than 30% of US K-12 students. They are acquiring add-on’s – SRB Education Solutions, Haiku, InfoSnap, TieNET – to create a full software suite for schools. Google for Education is the fastest growing software suite in edtech. Jenzabar and Sunguard did the same in higher ed. Is this the solution for creating a unified software solution for schools or will customers demand “best of breed?”

In this session, participants will:

  • Explore what’s the state of the art in software suites, who’s building them, and whether more are in development
  • Consider the costs of schools and colleges integrating their various software solutions
  • Examine the drivers motivating customers in purchasing suites
  • Assess the future for more integrated offerings
Developing Relationships with Strategic Companies

Panelists: Amit Mathew, President, CramFighter; Steve Shapiro, CEO, AcademicMerit; Richard Keaveny, Training & Professional Learning Specialist, McGraw Hill Education, James O’Hare, Partner, Nelson Mullins 

Date: Thursday, February 2, 2017
Time: 3:30 pm – 4:15 pm

Many large digital learning provider companies report that smaller players come to them to explore a relationship, but are unable to articulate how a partnership will benefit the strategic. So, once an entrepreneur lands the sought after meeting with a potential strategic partner, they need to know what key points they need to keep in mind, how to get the attention they hoped for or how to move forward if they get stuck.

In this session, participants will:

  • Examine how strategic edtech companies evaluate go to market partnerships with smaller companies
  • Address the challenges larger companies face in partnering with entrepreneurs
  • Absorb an example of success and what went into it
Digital Learning Providers on the Market Landscape

Moderator: Brook Colangelo, CTO, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
George Moore, Chief Technology Officer, Cengage; Curtiss Barnes, Managing Director of Product Management & Design Global Product, Pearson; Stephen Laster, Chief Digital Officer, McGraw Hill Education

Date: Thursday, February 2, 2017
2:30 pm – 3:15 pm

Publishers are now digital learning providers. They provide the curriculums, increasingly in a digital format, and often with adaptive learning and assessments. Many are now reporting greater than 50% digital sales, and providing tech platforms for learning. What do they consider their greatest assets for and challenges to growth? Will Open Educational Resources (OERs) erode the value of content? Are they building ecosystems of entrepreneurial companies to support their market approach?  

In this session, participants will:

  • Explore the pace of the market change from physical to digital
  • Identify the most valued digital components  
  • Examine the key challenges to growth as defined by the major digital learning providers
  • Evaluate key changes providers are making to their offerings and go to market strategies
EdTech Investment Opportunities Globally

Panelists: Dai Ellis, Co-founder, Nova and Spire (Kepler); Geordie Brackin, Director of Innovation, Bridge International Academies, Julius Juerging Investment Manager, Holtzbrinck

Date: Thursday, February 2, 2017
Time: 3:30 pm – 4:15 pm

Many countries understand that the level of education of their citizens will drive their overall standard of living and are investing in education. At the same time, more wealth has put private education in the reach of many more people, and they are buying it for their families. How are investors taking advantage of these trends?

In this session, participants will:

  • Identify what are some of fastest growing school operators in Africa, Latin America and Asia
  • Explore the variety of strategies new school operators are employing
  • Address the key challenges to starting and scaling school operations
  • Touch on other investment opportunities to serve these schools
Edtech Investors Speak Panel

Moderator: Elizabeth Chou, Partner, New Markets Venture Fund

Panelists:  Daniel Pianko, Managing Director, University Ventures, Brigette Lau, Board Partner, Social CapitalBrian Napack, Senior Advisor, Providence Equity

DateThursday, February 2, 2017
Time: 2:30 pm – 3:15 pm

Entrepreneurs need investment like humans need food. Yet, venture capital is a cyclical business that can be feast or famine. Today’s environment emphasizes showing customer validation as early as possible. The requirements to raise capital from institutional investors are particularly stringent.

In this session, participants will:

  • Examine key areas that edtech investors believe warrant investment today
  • Understand how investors weigh educational impact and financial results
  • Identify which business plan components are critical to investors beyond the friends and family round
Growing from an Edtech Startup into a Global Edtech Company

Moderator: Monica Brady-Myerov, CEO, ListenWise

Panelists: Brita Nordin, VP of Content Development, Pearson; Norihisa Wada, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, EdulabDan Tu-Hoa, SVP North America, Mathspace

Date: Friday, February 3, 2017
Time: 1:15 pm – 2:00 pm

When entrepreneurs aspire to grow globally, they need to know how to expand their sales and distribution approach. App stores project business to consumer products globally, but partnerships might be best for enterprise selling to districts or colleges.

In this session, participants will:

  • Hear from successful entrepreneurs on the journey of going global
  • Explore how entrepreneurs are using the global app stores
  • Identify how entrepreneurs have engaged global partners
  • Examine routes available to those focussed on enterprise selling


Interoperability - The Next Frontier

Panelists: Stephen Laster, Chief Digital Officer, McGraw HillErin Mote,  Executive Director, InnovateEdu; Mike Baur, Program Officer, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

Date: Friday, February 3, 2017
Time: 1:15 pm – 2:00 pm

For personalized learning to reach its potential, students and teachers must be able to rapidly enter their digital learning environments, organize their work, readily access learning material at the right level, and interpret results data from multiple sources of software. Today this is often a complex, mostly manual task. This session will look at how schools and districts are likely to evolve to get to this vision.

In this session, participants will:

  • Identify the different information technology systems and software applications are communicating, exchanging information, and being used
  • Address what the most important challenges to interoperability are from the buyer’s perspective
  • Examine on the most relevant edtech standards
  • Explore concrete steps which buyers and providers can make to enable interoperability
Marketplaces and Edtech Go to Market

Moderator: Kecia Ray, Board Member, ISTE

Panelists: Claudia Reuter, Senior Vice President of Labs, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Marketplace; Ryan Lefton, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Amazon Education; Nicole Neal, CEO, Noodle Markets

Date: Thursday, February 2, 2017
Time: 11:30 am – 12:15 pm

Curated Open Educational Resources (OERs). Amazon Inspire. Noodle Marketplace. HMH Marketplace. Teachers Pay Teachers. TES. It seems that edtech marketplaces are flourishing. What is driving this phenomenon?

In this session, participants will:

  • Explore whether marketplaces are an answer to the entrepreneur’s question: How do I get distribution?
  • Explore if marketplaces address the educator’s question: How do I find appropriate Curtiss Barnes instructional resources for my context?
  • Dissect what digital learning providers seek to gain from offering a marketplace – new customers for other offerings, information on market needs or developers to expand their offerings
  • Examine a map of edtech marketplaces
Market Trends in Edtech

Panelists: Susan Wolford, Managing Director and Head of Technology & Business Services Group, BMO Capital Markets; Matt Greenfield, Managing Partner, Rethink Education

The edtech market has been highly dynamic over the past five years. BMO Capital Markets is a leading analyst of education markets, and the firm has  observed a material shift in the education sector. Rethink Education is a prominent edtech investor,  from “pre-K to gray.”

In this session, participants will:

  • Obtain an overview of the education market, and how edtech fits within it
  • Assess the relative growth rates of the subsegments of the edtech market, including K-12, higher ed, and corporate training- “Pre-K to Gray”
  • Explore the key trends driving the industry
  • Understand trends in firm creation and consolidation
Reimagining Education and Employment

Speaker: Brandon Busteed, Executive Director, Education & Workforce Development, Gallup

Date: Thursday, February 2, 2017
10:30 am – 11:15 am

Research by the Gallup organization indicates that employee engagement is the key to successful organizations. How does this apply to students and educators?  In this provocative talk, Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Education and Workforce Development at Gallup, will address why there is nothing more important we can do as a nation than build the world’s most effective “educonomy” by seamlessly integrating our educational system, our employers, and our job creators.

In this session, participants will:

  • Explore employee engagement is a key predictor of organizational performance
  • Examine how educator engagement influences school performance
  • Review how student engagement influences student learning
  • Address the gaps between educators and employers
Trends in Company Continuing Ed and Talent Development

Panelists: David Blake, CEO, Degreed; Jonathan Finklestein, Founder & CEO, Credly; Furqan Nazeeri, Partner, Extension Engine

DateFriday, February 3, 2017
Time: 1:15 pm – 2:00 pm

According to Deloitte, 8 out of every 10 senior executives indicate that learning is a critical issue for their company and their employees. Additionally, today’s employee expects dynamic and self-directed learning opportunities from their employer. Technology has been supercharging corporate education.

In this session, participants will:

  • Explore how companies are moving to curate a learning experience for employees
  • Examine how companies are moving from periodic programs to self-directed solutions, owned by individual employees
  • Address the struggle that a company may have when trying to understand and articulate the learning needs of employees