Online Learning Update

July 12, 2013

Kaplan bets on 10 online learning startups

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:01 am

by Judith Messina, Crain’s New York Business

WhipSmart Learning offers an online array of engaging, kid-relevant daily news stories geared to different reading levels. It’s one of the first 10 companies in the new Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, itself one of a flurry of new, startup hatcheries targeting education. For-profit education company Kaplan announced the accelerator in February and a week ago named its first class. The 10 companies include five New York-based startups. Tech Stars, which runs accelerators in eight cities, provides some of the money—$20,000 for a 6% equity stake—while Kaplan furnishes the mentors, an optional $100,000 in convertible debt and space for three months at 395 Hudson St. For Kaplan, which already runs its own internal hackathons, the accelerator is an opportunity to capitalize on disruption in the education market. “It’s a great learning experience for us,” said Bernardo Rodriguez, chief digital officer at Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions. “Secondly, we will build good relationships with the startups and, if after three months, we want to invest or partner with them, we will be close to them.” Until last year, there were only a handful of EdTech accelerators, a tacit acknowledgement of the difficulty of bringing change to public school bureaucracies and to a higher education establishment constrained by tradition and tenure.

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