Top 4 EdTech Trends I’m Watching as a Seed Stage Investor

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And by this, I don’t mean the holidays… I mean ASU GSV!
  • Marketplaces that enable the creator economy, allowing teachers to monetize their skill sets & materials outside of a traditional classroom setting. @Outschool, @Teachable, @TpT_Official.
  • 1:1 tutoring models transitioning to larger online, group formats, which ends up helping the economics for a more scalable, cost-efficient model. @VarsityTutors, Juni Learning.
  • Since COVID, more stakeholders are becoming involved in a child’s learning journey — -parents especially — -and tech is helping bring them further into the fold. @ClassDojo, @RemindHQ, @OKPlay, Caribu.
  • Job-specific technical training for the purpose of upskilling/continuing education, whether it’s providing the platform & courses (@ACloudGuru, @cybraryIT) or facilitating discovery/learning tracks for corporate clients w/o creating content (@GuildEducation, @InStrideLearn)
  • Companies that are utilizing their massive B2C userbase to launch B2B efforts, like @Coursera is doing within higher education and @Codecademy is doing with corporations for coding skills.
  • Especially recently, technology that enables homeschooling (@withprimer), learning pods/micro-schools or more community-style learning (@Wonderschools), or offers transferable credits aligned with curriculum at lower costs (@outlier_org).
  • Experience-based learning, especially for college students & typically through internships, to provide an edge on the recruiting process and a direct line of sight to top companies. (@Riipen, @Hello_Upkey)
  • Garrett Smiley, Co-founder, Sora Schools (A live, accredited, virtual high school)
  • Kelly Smith, Founder, Prenda (In-home micro-schools)
  • Ryan Delk, CEO, Primer (all-in-one homeschooling alternative for students aged 7–14)
  • Vlad Stan, Founder & CEO, Galileo (self-directed online school for students aged 8–18)
  • Amir Nathoo, CEO, Outschool (live online classes and clubs for kids aged 3–18)

Takeaway #1: “Power to the Parents“ a.k.a. parental involvement is at an all-time high, and brings student agency into the fold as well.

  • Keep their children engaged & connected in school (ie: ClassDojo, Google Classroom, Zoom, Seesaw)
  • Keep them engaged outside of core learning hours due to sub-par virtual learning experiences (ie: Outschool)

Takeaway #2: Remote work is changing the way parents approach educating their children, as there’s more optionality for high quality education when you’re not tied to school districts.

Takeaway #3: The importance of community and peer-to-peer learning cannot be understated, especially with remote and distanced learning.

  • Amir Nathoo, the CEO of Outschool, noted that “Historically when thinking of alternative education (ie: homeschooling), people have thought there’s this tradeoff of putting kids at a disadvantage because they’re not able to build relationships with kids their age in school. With advances in tech and their services, they’re eliminating that tradeoff while enhancing social relationships that are not restricted to your local group.”
  • Garrett Smiley, the co-founder of Sora Schools, noted that “You have to think about what is the role of a school specifically in this decade and century going forward. It’s not content creation — instead, what schools should do is focus on the community building and discussions/labs — that’s what a school should be focusing on.”

Takeaway #4: On the topic of accessibility and true mass market appeal, partnerships with corporations and the government offer a path forward for private EdTech companies.

  • Primer is able to offer scholarships because their marginal costs are much lower than operating a traditional school.
  • Sora Schools offers sliding scale tuition, offering reduced tuition for some and a more expensive price for those that can afford it.
  • Others like Outschool and Prenda are attempting to form partnerships with both corporations (ie: offering education as a benefit for their employee’s children) and existing school systems / governments in order to create that access and affordability.

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Meagan Loyst

Meagan Loyst

VC @ Lerer Hippeau | Founder of Gen Z VCs | Advisory Board @ Girls Who Invest