So, how familiar are you with online education? Oh, sure, there are those commercials on television, in magazines, or on websites for online universities such as the University of Phoenix, but online education covers so much more than liberal arts programs nowadays.
Online education offers opportunities for students and startup entrepreneurs alike
In fact, online education is spawning an entire generation of startups dedicated to the noble art of learning. These bright fresh faces offer everything from accelerated learning programs for children to online technology degrees.
A Burgeoning Online Education Market
Funding for education startups has gone from $146 million in 2002 to $429 million in 2011, a tripled increase. MIT and Harvard have joined forces in creating EdX, which offers online courses for free, and in July 2012 attracted a $1 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
If You Want Something Done Right, Start Your Own Company
Public education in the US is a hot topic these days, especially whenever a new study comes out that shows American students academically lagging behind the students of other countries. Then, of course, there’s the furor over education budget cuts, teacher qualifications, and the like. Parents out there are concerned about the quality of their children’s education, and worrying about whether the current system can accommodate the vast array of challenges that students present. Just like Netflix’s CEO founded the company in the wake of a $40 late fee from Blockbuster, one online education company, WhipSmart Learning, was founded by Matthew Gross after he was informed that the public school system where his son was enrolled couldn’t handle the boy’s difficulties in learning how to read. This story just goes to show you that one of the coolest ways to start a company is when you personally experience an inconvenience or obstacle, and you deal with it by creating your own business that fills that niche, if not for you then at least for others in the same boat.
Emerging Education Startups
WhipSmart is one of ten startups that Kaplan Inc,, the education services company, is helping to get going courtesy of their Kaplan EdTech Accelerator program. EdTech Accelerator is an intense, three-month deep immersion program that is nurturing ten education startups in collaboration with TechStars, a national startup accelerator. This group of ten includes companies that benefit such distinct groups such as college students, elementary school kids, and military veterans. These fledgling companies receive mentoring, office space, and even the opportunity to make a pitch to angel investors, venture capitalists, and education influencers. And this is just the first ten companies in the EdTech Accelerator’s “class”. There will be further batches of startups down the road, ready to claim their share of the online education market.
Find That Need, And Fill It
The demand for education, the desire for training, is out there in full force, and shows no signs of slowing down. The challenge is matching up the skill set of the prospective education start-up with the nice market that desires those services. Whether it’s kindergarten, elementary school, or university level education, the market is rich and rewarding for those with the vision and skills to take advantage of it.