See you Friday at the EdTech Entrepreneurs Pitch Session!

Hello EdTech Enthusiast!

We are thrilled to have you all join us for our EdTech Entrepreneurs Pitch event this Friday, July 15. We have an incredible turn out! The event is completely oversubscribed, so come early and grab a seat (as late comers might have to stand). Please note, we will not be registering new attendees/additional guests on the day of the event. *If you can no longer make the event, please let me know ASAP so we can release spots off the waitlist, thank you!*

We wanted to include some information ahead of the event, click here: Agenda EdTech Pitch and you will find:

1.       Agenda
2.       Presenting company descriptions (for more details on the teams, check us out on
3.       Panelists bios
4.       More about the EdTech program
5.        For a full participant list, click here

In keeping, “eco-friendly” we will not distribute the attached materials on the day of the event, so if you need the information, please print what you need. Thanks for understanding.

 **Again, please leave extra time to find the building on campus, it is a bit tricky to find: Click here for directions:
Stanford D. School
550 Panama Mall
Building 550

We look forward to an incredibly fun event! Please bring all your energy, support (and noise makers) for these entrepreneurs, who have been working very hard.
Join the conversation on twitter: #edtechlab
Don’t forget to join our EdTech group on Facebook

Wayee and the EdTech Team

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Calling All EdTech Enthusiasts!

 You are invited to join Teach For America, NewSchools Venture Fund and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford in celebrating the inaugural cohort of the 2011 Bay Area EdTech Entrepreneurs Lab.

THE PITCH COMPETITION: The event will feature a final pitch competition for each team in this year’s cohort. The purpose of the showcase is to create an opportunity for aspiring edtech entrepreneurs to get feedback on their ventures from education and technology experts, entrepreneurs, and potential investors. The goal of the evening is to continue to cultivate and grow this emerging community of education technology enthusiasts by bringing together a hybrid of people and backgrounds to celebrate both entrepreneurship, but the next generation of education innovators. The pitch session will start promptly at 5:00pm.

We will have a great line up of judges, including:

THE AFTERPARTY:  The night is sure to end with a bang at the EdTech Mixer Afterparty, featuring Silicon Valley’s most talked about band: Coverflow, band members include: Mayfield Fund VC, Raj Kapoor, Norwest VC, Tim Chang, Facebook‘s Ethan Beard and Prashant Fuloria, and Blippy’s Philip Kaplan. We wanted to follow up from our last EdTech mixer this spring and allow another opportunity for this great community to network, so we hope you will stay for the party! The afterparty will begin at 8:00pm.

We hope you can join us to support our education entrepreneurs and have some fun!



Date: Friday, July 15, 2011

4:30pm-5:00pm: Networking/Drinks

5:00pm-8:00pm: Pitch Sessions Begin (food will be served)

8:00pm-10:00pm: EdTech Mixer Afterparty featuring Coverflow

Venue: Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford

Building 550

550 Panama Mall

Stanford, CA

(Click here for directions to the building, which is right on campus, but a little tricky to find.)

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How might we…?

Guest writer: Leslie Garner
EdTech Workshop #2: March 19, 2011

It’s often really easy to think about the numerous ways something might go wrong.  We often check our locks twice, make sure we’ve turned the oven off before we leave the house, and do other slightly paranoid things to make sure that “What might happen…” in a worst case scenario doesn’t happen.  We create worlds and spaces where disaster is mitigated.  At this Saturday’s Ed Tech workshop, instead of mitigating disaster, our teams considered how – through optimistic, human-centered answers – we might solve for some social problems we’re facing.

 The group I joined was looking to enable innovation within schools.  Commonplace questions like “How might we create project-based assignments with roots in the community?” and “How might we make learning experiences relevant and meaningful everyday?” led the group to consider bolder questions.  “How might we engage local businesses in developing our curriculum?”  “How might we give the community a role to play in selecting a school leader and teachers?”  “How might we redefine the role of teacher to encompass the community issues his/her class is working to solve?”  “How might we redesign schools?”

There were dozens more of these “How might we…” questions, but the ideas didn’t stop there.  Through a series of brainstorming activities, the group came up with a solution that was bigger and bolder than just innovation in teaching.  It was a brand new design for schools.  The school became less of a “place we send kids” and more a hub of “community”, a place where the neighbors came to share their complaints and problems – and where students solved them.  It became a place where student research and reporting didn’t just make the front page of the local paper; it was the very story on the front page of the paper.  There were commissions and committees, and kids, in partnership, not direction, of their innovative, empowered teachers, were making their community one of equity and excellence.  

It was unbelievable to think that in less than 90 minutes, a new vision for schools came alive. And that there were 100s of other ideas they came up with!  That’s one of the rules, after all, of the brainstorm:  “Go for volume.”  The many other ideas the entire cohort came up with were just one part of the day…and perhaps the easiest as they moved from a morning of idea generation to an afternoon of idea selection.    

Leslie Garner (St. Louis ’04)
Managing Director, Alumni Affairs
Teach For America –  Bay Area

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Mix It Up with the Ed-Techies on 4/16!


NewSchools Venture Fund, in partnership with the Stanford and Teach for America, invites you to join us to learn about great startup opportunities for education technology entrepreneurs, including exciting and new programs such as, Imagine K12Kauffman Labs, and Startl. The founders of each of these organizations will provide information about their program. We encourage all potential applicants and ed-tech founders to attend.

This will be a great networking opportunity with other education technology enthusiasts from a diverse set of backgrounds in education, technology/computer science, policy and business. We will bring together new and veteran entrepreneurs, as well as investors interested in the education technology space.

Click here to register:

Space is limited so please RSVP by April 10th.

Location: The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford (the
416 Escondido Mall
Building 550
Stanford, CA
Date: Saturday, April 16, 2011
Time: 5:00pm-7:00pm (drinks and light appetizers will be served)

**Note: Please allow extra time to find the, for more location details, click here. Also, parking on campus on Saturdays in most spots is free.**

Presenting Organizations:

About Imagine K12
We believe technology is transforming K-12 education.  The infrastructure, hardware, software, and platforms are either available or being developed that will change the nature of how we teach our children in profound and far-reaching ways.  This high-tech wave will sweep through the educational world, but its speed and impact depend on the quality of ideas and entrepreneurs and their ability to execute.  This is where we intend to act.

Imagine K12 is looking to invest time, experience, energy and resources in entrepreneurs who have a passion for education and the technical know-how to create their vision.  Over a three month period, we will draw on our extensive entrepreneurial experience, understanding of the Silicon Valley ecosystem, and knowledge of the education industry to give your idea and energy a far greater shot at success.

About Kauffman Education Ventures Program, Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation
Part school and part business accelerator, Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation is a new approach to developing the next generation of high-growth firms. Tapping the Kauffman Foundation’s vast entrepreneurship knowledge and networks, the program seeks to accelerate the number and success of new firms by offering a new method for teaching and training entrepreneurs of dynamic, fast-growth, scalable businesses in a lab setting, while studying the “science of startups” in the process. For more information,

About Startl
Our mission is to make learning as engaging and effective as possible through the strategic use of digital media – from kindergarten to college, in and outside the classroom. We do this by recruiting promising young innovators and turning their powerful ideas for learning into successful products for market.

Everyone agrees – from policymakers and businesspeople to teachers and kids – that we have yet to realize the potential of new media and technologies to transform learning. The established structures in education and business make it hard for exciting innovations cropping up outside the system to get the support they need to rise up in the market.

By bringing together the philanthropic sector with the private sector, we at Startl are creating a critical missing link between innovation and capital. We’re also making sure these emerging technologies reflect what we know makes for the best learning, versus just what will sell. In this way, we’re accelerating the process of innovation and changing the future of learning in both a socially responsible and economically sound


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The Chief of Yelp Talks to the EdTech Cohort

NewSchools' April Chou speaks with Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman

Tonight the TFA-NewSchools EdTech cohort spent a great evening with Jeremy Stoppelman, the CEO and co-founder of Yelp at their hip HQs in downtown San Francisco talking about entrepreneurship, Jeremy’s road from PayPal to HBS to Yelp, and the books he is reading about education these days.  Some interesting thoughts on life as an entrepreneur:

  1. Follow your passion: If you don’t love the idea, chances are it won’t stick
  2. Learn to pivot: Be flexible and fluid, ideas change and you need to learn to pivot
  3. Find a technical co-founder: If you are serious about starting a technology company, you need to find a technical co-founder
  4. Fundraise in cycles: Don’t do random fundraising rounds, spend time organizing and polishing your pitch and develop a clear fundraising plan and process
  5. The lonely road: Entrepreneurship can be a lonely, dark path, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel
  6. The ups and downs: Life at a startup is manic-brace yourself!

Starting a company in the education technology space is no exception to any of these rules. Jeremy’s candid perspective was inspiring and eye-opening. I look forward to hearing more exciting real life success stories from our own edtech entrepreneurs in the months and years to come!

And if you were wondering, Stoppelman’s recent education book list includes Jay Mathews’  Work Hard, Be Nice and Paul Tough’s Whatever It Takes. Find his thoughts here on his blog.

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Building 550, Studio 2: “Design Thinking” Within Reach…

This weekend 25 aspiring education entrepreneurs convened in Building 550, Studio 2 (the beautifully industrial-designed workspace at the Stanford for the Teach For America-NewSchools Venture Fund EdTech Entrepreneurs Lab. Saturday’s workshop was the official launch of the Winter-Spring 2011 cohort, which represented a diverse cross-section of participants across the technology, education and business sectors.

The goal of the program is ambitious: to cultivate and build a strong pipeline of education entrepreneurs who seek to create technology-driven solutions in education. After spending 9 intense hours with this group, I walked away inspired and humbled by the great discussions and hard work that came out of the day. Some highlights include: 

  • Design Thinking 101-Rapid Ideation and Prototyping: The energy in the room was high as our teachers-Erica Estrada and Rich Crandall  kicked off the morning with a “gift giving” exercise that took the cohort through the entire design process; participants conducted speed interviews, brainstormed ideas, built a prototype and tested the product in a span of 60 minutes. One of the highlights was watching the “rapid prototyping process” as participants scrambled to build their products out of art and craft materials such as twine, popcicle sticks, plastic cups, and felt scraps. Click here for photo highlights.
  • Michael Horn’s Disruptive Innovation: We were also excited to introduce our keynote speaker, Michael Horn, Executive Director of Innosight Institute and co-author of Disrupting Class. Michael walked through the theories behind “Disruptive Innovation”  and provided an overview of the education technology landscape, identifying current pain points and overall trends in online and blended learning models. Importantly, Horn spoke about student motivation and his current belief that schools are improperly integrated: instruction is typically uncoupled from activities in which students can feel success.
  • Lessons Learned from the field: The day ended with an exciting and candid discussion with three guest speakers, including Peter Pham, EIR at Trinity Partners, Jennifer Carolan, Associate Partner at NewSchools and Alex Bernadotte, CEO and Founder of Beyond 12.  Topics discussed include: 1) identifying key attributes of successful entrepreneurs (persistence, work ethic, resiliency and self-reflection rose to the top); 2) the current fundraising landscape for education startups (currently a somewhat dislocated landscape among foundations, venture philanthropy, angels and VCs); 3) lessons learned from an edtech startup-Beyond 12’s story; 4) the importance of sustainability and what it means to be a “double bottom line” organization; and  5) how current trends in consumer tech are impacting the edtech startup space. 

Exhausted and exhilarated, I left the day thinking about how excited and honored I am to be part of this reform movement that is committed to ending education inequity. I feel as committed as ever to continue the work we do at NewSchools and through the EdTech lab in supporting this great group of budding entrepreneurs through their next new venture.


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Teach For America-NewSchools EdTech Entrepreneurs Lab

NewSchools Venture Fund and Teach For America announced today the cohort of aspiring education entrepreneurs selected to participate in the first-ever EdTech Entrepreneurs Lab. The Lab allows participants to explore, develop and incubate innovative, technology-driven ideas that target educational inequity. The program is launched in collaboration with the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University, which will run a “bootcamp” for participants to develop ideas using design thinking methodologies. Throughout this program, participants will gain access to industry leaders and key resources to help them launch innovative, technology-based solutions that contribute to closing the achievement gap.

Click here to read more about this exciting announcement.

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