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Building and Scaling an EdTech Company


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An education entrepreneur is a mission-driven person who designs, builds, grows and sustains solutions to some of the world's most intractable education problems. This presentation affords some 'free' advice on how and where. The why, when and who come from you.

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Building and Scaling an EdTech Company

  1. 1. Building and Scaling an EdTech Company FrankBonsal
  2. 2. 1 Frank Bonsal: Educator, VC, MentorK-12Educator • 1984-2001 • MS English & History • MS & HS Lacrosse & Football • 6 states & 3 countries • Impact 1000s of students • NPO Boards: Peabody Vanderbilt • M.Ed., Vanderbilt • B.A., English Teaching, UNH VentureCapitalist • 2001-2014 • 25+ education investments • 9 boards • 11 realizations • GP, New Markets Venture Partners • Partner, Bonsal Capital • NPO Boards: Garrison Forest School, Holderness School, Irvine Nature Center • M.B.A., Vanderbilt Mentor • 2014- • Director of Entrepreneurship, Towson University • TU Incubator (8+ EdTech Cos) • TU Student Launch Pad • NPO Boards: Center for Education Reform (Chair), EdTech Maryland, Gilman School
  3. 3. Start with the Right Questions 2 Who are the Founders? (Domain expert, Business, Engineer, Design) Is there abundant Passion, Credibility, Energy, Diversity, Humility, and great Listening Skills? Why are you doing this? Why now? What intractable education problem are you solving? You will you go through a wall for your end user? Where will you start? Identify best market entrypoint(s) and strategy to scale from there. TAM? Are you in a Startup Ecosystem? Ample support? How will you acquire customers? Identify your base business model as applied to ‘who’ and ‘where’. Do you have business model options?
  4. 4. Incubation Seed Series A Series B Series C+ Angels & Incubators ($0-10M) Micro VCs ($10-100M) “Big” VC funds ($100-500M) “Mega” VC funds (>$500M) Know the National Investor Ecosystem 3 Founders Bootstrap, Kickstarter, AngelList, Foundations, Economic Development Source: Dave McClure’s Changes in Venture Capital and Startup Ecosystems and Building Startup Ecosystems
  5. 5. Choose Your Ecosystem Wisely 4Source: Dave McClure’s Changes in Venture Capital and Startup Ecosystems and Building Startup Ecosystems
  6. 6. Which Education Innovation Cluster?
  7. 7. Consider Maryland
  8. 8. Start with EdTech Design 7
  9. 9. Test & Accelerate with an Incubator Evolving Players Leading EdTech Accelerators 8 Leading Industry-Agnostic Tech Accelerators
  10. 10. Know Seed / Early Capital Alternatives Community & Economic Development Foundations 9 Crowdsourcing & Angel Groups
  11. 11. Collectively, the above firms have made over 150 education investments since 2009. Seed Early Growth Build Relations with VCs 10Sources: CB Insights: EdTech’s Most Active Venture Capital Investors Since 2009 and EdSurge Investors.
  12. 12. Top 5 EdTech VCs & Ones to Watch 11 Seed Early Growth Ones to Watch: The 4 firms above have stepped sincerely into edtech in last 12-24 months at preferred entrypoints and bite sizes. Each of the 5 venture firms below has… 15+ EdTech Investments Diverse ‘Institutional’ LPs>30% Assets in EdTech
  13. 13. Your #1 Source of Capital 12
  14. 14. Questions? Comments? 13 • The Office of Education Technology • League of Innovative Schools • LEAP Innovations (Chicago) • iZone NYC (New York) • TU Incubator (Baltimore) • Frank Bonsal, @FrankBonsal