LearnLaunch Has Big Plans For EdTech Startups

What is LearnLaunch?

LearnLaunch is a 501c3 non-profit organization that offers classes, networking opportunities, conferences, social meetups and other educational services to individuals and organizations.

The organization does so in a bid to support creation and growth of education technology and learning companies in New England.

LearnLaunch has a branch program, LearnLaunchX, which has served as an incubator/accelerator program for education startups since February 2013.

In June 2013, LearnLaunch Campus was begun. It is a co-working space that is the home to LearnLaunchX and over 30 other edtech companies.

Often featured in our Week Ahead: Scheduled Events in Education are local social gatherings, conferences, hackathons, and classes sponsored by LearnLaunch.

What do you mean LearnLaunchX “incubates” startups?

With LearnLaunchX, startup founders and entrepreneurs participate in a three-month immersive, residential program in Boston.

LearnLaunchX provides seed funding for the companies that it selects to participate. The chosen companies meet weekly with LearnLaunch staff who advise them on how to grow their products and companies. The LearnLaunchX edtech-focused curriculum has been designed to help startups navigate the education industry.

What kind of companies are selected for the LearnLaunchX program?

Companies selected are ones that LearnLaunchX believes have the strongest chance of building a successful edtech business.

Applicants are evaluated based on potential for growth and profitability, uniqueness, impact on education and learning, and experience of team members.

How does the LearnLaunchX program work?

LearnLaunchX provides $18k seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity in the companies. This money comes from angel investors — affluent individuals who essentially front the businesses capital in exchange for a tiny amount of ownership, 6 percent of common stock in this case.

In the first month of the program, LearnLaunchX works with companies to develop an individual work plan.

The second month focuses on company-specific issues, such as customer interaction, user interface design, and product development.

The final month focuses on developing an action plan — strategies for launching products, expanding companies, and pitching to investors.

How is LearnLaunch funded?

LearnLaunch says that it is funded through event fees, private donations, and sponsorship support. The LearnLaunch Campus receives rent from startups that have desks in the space and sponsor support.

Sponsors and supporters include Pearson, McGraw-Hill Education, Cengage Learning, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, First Republic Bank, and Gesmer Updegrove LLP.

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