The trip included sessions in both San Francisco and New York, with meetings scheduled with local companies to build partnerships and provide opportunities for EduGrowth startup accelerator companies to show off their technology solutions. The key stop on the trip was the annual ASU + GSV Education Technology Summit which takes place in Salt Lake City, Utah between 8-10 May. The mission included representatives from EduGrowth, Navitas Ventures, our full time accelerator companies and EduGrowth founding members.
The first stop was in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The mission started with visits to the US headquarters of Australian edtech Smart Sparrow and a visit to the AusTrade San Francisco Landing Pad. Dror Ben-Naim, the founder of Smart Sparrow shared his tips on breaking into new markets.
We then visited the offices of some of the most ground-breaking edtech companies in the world including Udemy– an online course market place, Minerva – looking to change the face of higher education to focus on soft skills, Quizlet – digital flash cards, Remind– a school communication service and Yup– a market place for tutors.
The next stop was Salt Lake City for the ASU + GSV education technology summit, it is a hub for the smartest and most influential minds in Learning and Talent Tech. Ria Chan,from Craftsposure (Pictured), Olivia Pennie from BEcoME and Martin Astbury from Upstart Academy had the opportunity to pitch to a room full of investors and other founders.
ASU-GSV was sponsored by Navitas Ventures, an EduGrowth founding member. Their CEO Patrick Brothers also presented the second phase of the Navitas Ventures Global EdTech Landscape Project.
EduGrowth joined with the NYEdTech meetup for a night at General Assembly to introduce the big Apple to Australian education technology. With lightning pitches from the full time accelerator teams and a presentation from EduGrowth CEO Riley Batchelor, New York edtech companies learned about the possibilities of Australian EdTech.
The mission then visited StartEd a dedicated EdTech accelerator for a pitch off with their current cohort before wrapping up the trip and heading back down under.
Some of the things we learnt….
John Fox: Trying to change a school (the administrators and teachers) is really, really hard! They do not care about your new product or service – they are strapped for time looking after kids. So, don’t try to change them! Focus on solving a pain point they have (which is usually about time). Solve a problem with an easy to adopt, easy to implement solution. The key to this is therefore being close to your customers, understanding their issues, and build what they want, as opposed to making them want what you are building.
Martin Astbury: My key takeaway was the importance of confidence in the founders to the success of a startup. Confidence is the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something. When that thing is an early stage startup, confidence becomes crucial to everything you do. How can you convince staff, investors or customers to be part of your crazy journey if you can’t exude confidence in what you’re doing?