Just arrived in the UK but before I left San Francisco I was fortunate to attend a fascinating meetup of people from the EduTech (Education Technology) community with ArtistWorks founder David Butler. EduTech is a very exciting area at the moment as entrepreneurs and investors in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors look to re-imagine education and create new technologies and business models in the process. The first thing that struck me about the event was how passionate everyone was about education. These are not your run of the mill Silicon Valley start-up types, these people genuinely care about improving lives through education whether that is at the K-12 (primary and secondary), college, university, vocational or adult education level.
The event was hosted at The Kapor Center by Mitch Kapor, a pioneer of the personal computing industry (Lotus, Mozilla, Real Networks, Second Life) who has invested in a number of EduTech companies. Big shout out goes to event organizer Emily Chiu who is a board member of Stanford Women in Business and Director of Operations at TEDx in San Francisco.
The night started with Mitch talking about how exciting the area of EduTech is at the moment and giving the audience some background on his work with Kapor Capital and the Mitchel Kapor Foundation. That was followed by Alan Louie, formerly of Google and Netscape but now a co-founder of Imagine K-12, who spoke about EduTech being at an inflection point and the huge potential in education for disruptive technologies and ideas.
For me the most interesting talk of the night came from Jon Bischke, a serial entrepreneur in the EduTech space who is currently Entrepreneur in Residence at Battery Ventures. I first came across Jon with his business eduFire, a leading video platform for online education that has a lot of similarities to what we are doing over at ArtistWorks. I share Jon’s analysis that K-12 in ten years time wont look that much different from it does today because of the reticence of many within traditional education to embrace new technology and new ways of thinking. Without question there are some pioneering superintendents and teachers out there at the K-12 level but Jon and I agree that the most promising areas are in the college, university, informal, adult and continuing education sectors.
There were lots of other great people at the event including Mike Lee, David Meyer, Elizabeth Corcoran, Ross Fubini and Ari Bader-Natal and the overwhelming feeling you got at the event was that we are on the cusp of something.
So if you are in the San Francisco area and would like to attend a future EduTech meetup check out this link.