Entrepreneur 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 Entrepreneur 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.

Buyer's Hot Seat: What Drives a Decision

Panelists: Mark Racine, CIO, Boston Public Schools; Kerry Gallagher, Digital Learning Specialist, St. John’s Prep; Anna Nolan, Assistant Superintendent, Natick Public Schools

Date: Friday, February 3, 2017
Time: 10:30 am – 11:15 am

The faculty love your product. What are the next steps to having the school or district decide to buy a site license? What are the concerns of instructional technologists and innovation directors? Come and see how an entrepreneur navigates through the steps of bringing the key constituencies on board.

In this session, participants will:

  • Address the interplay of teacher advocates, instructional technologists, academic leader and chief information officers in making a school purchase decision
  • Examine the key concerns of each of the stakeholders in the decision making process
  • Explore how entrepreneurs can address their issues·
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
Time: 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, Partner, Social Capital, Brian Napack, Senior Advisor, Providence Equity

Date: Thursday, February 2, 2017
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, Edulab, Dan 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
Inside Sales Secrets

Moderator: Rita Ferrandino, Founder, ARC Capital

Panelists: Alex Rappaport, Co-founder & CEO, Flocabulary; Teddy Rice, President and Co-Founder, Ellevation

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

Many edtech companies develop and sell edtech products or services with an average sale of less than $20,000. A sales strategy built on inside sales, may be the most economically effective. In a “relationship business,” does inside sales work for new business as well as renewals? What types of candidates can be effective, and how should they be trained and managed? Software as a Service (SAAS) metrics can be invaluable to compare your progress to best-in-class organizations.

In this session, participants will:

  • Identify what are the critical SAAS metrics that will help to build a successful business
  • Outline how to structure an inside sales effort
  • Examine the variety of  successful candidate profiles for inside sales roles
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