Market intelligence, government connections, networking and cherry-blossoms

Market intelligence, government connections, networking and cherry-blossoms

2019 US EDTECH TRADE MISSION

April 2019 saw EduGrowth support our 3rd US EdTech trade mission. This year we continued our partnership with Austrade whilst welcoming Navitas Ventures as a mission partner to lead a cohort of Australian EdTech founders across the US.

On a splendid New York evening a group of EdTech entrepreneurs, education sector executives and market facilitators gathered for dinner as we launched into the 2019 trade mission.  

As the day-by-day program was discussed the realisation that we were in for a truly exciting and exhausting few weeks dawned.  

Our 2019 cohort included a range of companies with different objectives from market assessment, industry connections, government relationships and more.  The core objective that united us all was the goal of taking Australian EdTech to the global market.

Over 10 days we visited New York, Washington, San Francisco and San Diego.  At each stop we put together a program that included meetings with established education companies to understand processes, universities and schools to hear directly from customers, government agencies to focus strategically and Australian entrepreneurs already operating in the USA.  

The combined support of Austrade, Navitas Ventures and EduGrowth allowed us to gather incredible audiences at each of our networking functions providing invaluable connections for each and every entrepreneur on the mission.  

The Washington leg saw us meet with Department of Education executives that really highlighted the challenges and opportunities in establishing EdTech businesses in the US.  By chance we had a fleeting brush with the Education Secretary as our group stomped by excited from the session we’d just left.

The mission concluded at the ASU GSV conference which is impossible to describe in a few words.  This 5000 strong conference includes more plenary and concurrent sessions than can be counted, a dizzying array of side-meetings, a huge number of private presentations in hotel suites and the ability to attend more networking drinks sessions than is humanly possible in three days.

The key takeaways from ASU GSV for me were:

Focus on Professional Development & Analysis

The US school sector is rapidly moving to Open Educational Resources (OER) where the EdTech tool must include a full solution incorporating professional development, data analysis and consulting services. This is a massive business model opportunity that is seeing EdTech vendors providing their tool free, but generating significantly higher revenues than from their license revenue.

The Future of Work is the Future of EdTech

I left ASU GSV with the distinct view that all education innovation will be focussed on the future of work.  It seems that every education provider, vendor, entrepreneur and investor was talking about how technology will support people entering the workforce, re-skilling and up-skilling.  

 

A huge program like this isn’t possible without a team effort.  Thanks to the Austrade team in Australia and across the USA for your great support in pulling together the program.  And a special thanks to Tim Praill at Navitas Ventures for the support of the mission in 2019, a number of companies attended the mission with direct subsidy only possible because of Navitas’ support.  

The EdTech Mission to the US and ASU + GSV Summit was held  1-10 April 2019.