Investor Path

Want to hear from other edtech investors on how they make decisions in such a fast-paced marketplace? Want to see demos from LearnLaunch Accelerator startups and pitches from our pitch competition finalists? Check out these sessions for a closer look into the trends, innovations, and companies that are shaping the future of edtech.

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

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
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
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
LearnLaunch Accelerator Breakthrough Program Showcase Featuring Speaker Michael Hansen of Cengage Learning

Please stay tuned for more information!

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

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

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
Semi - Final Pitch Competition (Parts 1 & 2)
Semi-Final Pitch Competition 1

Judges: Christopher Mirabile, Managing Director, Launchpad Venture Group; David Verrill, Managing Director, Hub Ventures

Over 30 early stage companies – representing K-12, higher ed, and continuing ed – will have tried to get to this point. Now, the final group of early stage edtech companies who made the cut after winning at the quarter-final LearnLaunch Pitch Competitions, will compete to pitch in-front of the entire conference on Friday, February 3rd. During these semi-final sessions, judges will narrow it down to the final two companies who will have the chance to become the 2017 LearnLaunch Pitch Competition Winner.

Semi- Final Pitch Competition Part 2

Judges: Amit Patel, Partner, Owl Ventures; Eric Cantor, CEO, New Mountain Learning; Alan Maguire, Founding Partner, Versari; Michelle Dervan, Principal, Rethink Education

Over 30 early stage companies – representing K-12, higher ed, and continuing ed – will have tried to get to this point. Now, the final group of early stage edtech companies who made the cut after winning at the quarter-final LearnLaunch Pitch Competitions, will compete to pitch in-front of the entire conference on Friday, February 3rd. During these semi-final sessions, judges will narrow it down to the final two companies who will have the chance to become the 2017 LearnLaunch Pitch Competition Winner.

Social Impact Investing

Panelists: John Duong, Director of Strategic Social Investments, Lumina; Shauntel Poulson, General Partner & Co-Founder, Reach Capital, Sky Lance, General Partner, Sustain VC, Nasir Qadree, Economic Opportunity Lead, Village Capital

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

Impact investing is a growing source of capital,  and edtech is one of its focus areas.   With many financial investors focusing on existing portfolio companies, many  hope that this  will expand the pool of capital available to edtech entrepreneurs, while others wonder if it will increase competition and raise the valuations of edtech firms.

In this session, participants will:

  • Assess social impact investing trends
  • Explore what motivates social impact investors and how they measure success
  • Contrast how impact investors are the same or different than financial investors
  • Examine the flow of investment funds from both social impact and financial investors