Kaplan’s EdTech Accelerator

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Kaplan’s TechStars-powered startup accelerator — the latest to launch for education entrepreneurs — is announcing the startups in its inaugural class, reports GigaOm. Kaplan is a leading international provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools, and businesses.

The Kaplan EdTech Accelerator will select startups using technology to create products and services across the broad spectrum of education including K-12, higher education, professional education, lifelong learning, and other areas. TechStars will invest $20,000 in each company accepted into the program.

The Kaplan EdTech Accelerator is the first corporate sponsored accelerator focused exclusively on the education sector, using TechStars’ mentor-driven model. TechStars has completed 15 accelerator programs and its selected companies have attracted more than $285 million in funding in the past six years.

Here are the companies in the new class:

  • Degreed — As educational opportunities explode with new online learning options, San Francisco-based Degreed wants to rethink what it means to earn credit. The startup, which aims to “jailbreak” the degree, provides an online service that tracks, scores and validates all of a user’s educational experiences. (We’ve covered the startup in the past if you want to learn more.)
  • Flinja — Something like a TaskRabbit for college students, Flinja gives students a marketplace for listing services they can provide, which alumni and others in their college networks can then pay for through the site.
  • MentorMob — A crowdsourced learning site, MentorMob lets anyone create “playlists” of content on a wide range of topics.
  • ModernGuild — Through its online job prep program, ModernGuild helps college students connect with professionals for personalized, career coaching. (We’ve written about this company previously, too, if you’re curious to read more.)
  • panOpen — Given the rise of Open Educational Resources (OER), panOpen wants to make it easier for educators and institutions to use free textbooks.
  • PlayPowerLabs — Launched out of Carnegie Mellon University, PlayPowerLabs makes engaging math games that are aligned to Common Core state standards for K-8 education.
  • Ranku — The startup isn’t sharing too much about it what it does quite yet, just this: “Online degrees you can be proud of from schools you trust.”
  • Uvize — Based in Boulder, Colo. (also home to TechStars’ headquarters), Uvize helps military veterans prepare for college with academic instruction, assessment and coaching.
  • Verificient Technologies — With the growth in online courses, Verificient plans to offer identity verification, proctoring and credential authentication services.
  • Whipsmart — With an online news site for kids, Whipsmart offers teachers a literacy tool that enables kids to read nonfiction content adapted to fit their reading levels.

The White House recently announced a multi-billion dollar ConnectED Program, which would deliver 1 GBps fiber to virtually all schools. Perhaps the new sub-6 GHz band would be a good way to deliver education programs for everyone.

The 1 GB fiber (subsidized by Uncle Sam) might provide backhaul for 600 MHz band neighborhood nodes that could provide nearly blanket broadband wireless coverage. School districts are local governments with powers similar to that of a town or a county.

Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and others may have the means, motivation and the money to deliver low-cost (even free) broadband. Google thinks there’s a $200 billion opportunity as brands shift to online. Intel, Apple, HP, and other hardware companies may also have a horse in this race.

Related DailyWireless stories include; ConnectED Program Announced by White House, White House: Spectrum Sharing for New sub-6 GHz Spectrum, Kickstarter for FiberNets, Google Updates Books and Education Apps, News Corp’s Education Tablet, 600 MHz Auction Speculation, T-Mobile Files 600 MHz Proposal – Eliminating “Free” Spectrum, FCC: TV Auction in 2014

Posted by Sam Churchill on Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 at 10:18 am .

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