SCHOOLVILLE? No, that's not what Mark Pincus is announcing at the NewSchools Summit. But instead, a partnership with NewSchools Venture Fund for a learning games accelerator. The social gaming giant's non-profit affiliate, Zynga.org, will be committing $1 million for the first year of the program, which will be hosted at its San Francisco headquarters.
Some of that money will be going directly to companies in the first cohort, which include Kidaptive, LocoMotive Labs, and Motion Math. Edmodo will be joining as a "charter partner." (Sources say that one of its recent acquisitions, Root-1, was originally asked to join the group.)
Zynga employees will be "encouraged" to volunteer and collaborate on game design, testing, analytics, marketing, and distribution.
With many edtech startups--especially those in gaming--still searching ways to build scalable business models, it's no surprise that many are open to this offer of help. Both Dylan Arena, co-founder and Chief Learning Officer at Kidaptive, and MotionMath CEO and co-founder, Jacob Klein, expressed to EdSurge their enthusiasm at the opportunity to leverage Zynga's expertise on crunching data on user adoption, retention, and monetization that has driven its dominance in the social gaming industry.