Five startups are part of the inaugural group of edtech companies that have won a spot in the newly launched Education Design Studio, Inc. (EDSi) at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. They are:
Autism Expressed, Raise Labs and scrible were all finalists at the Milken-Penn GSE business plan competition held in May. (See piece here.) All the Design Studio participants agree to spend six months in the program. They will receive $10,000 for participating (and any additional prize money that they win. For instance, Raise Labs snapped up $75K at the May competition.)
The university program is a $2.1 million "hybrid incubator-and-seed-fund." It will nurture startups, aiming to increase the success rate for start-up and early stage ventures by connecting the startups with research; giving them opportunities to try out their products in Philadelphia classrooms and local companies; and connecting the entrepreneurs to relevant research at the university.
Investors in the program include Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania; McGraw-Hill; Ron Packard of K12 Inc.; Drs. Steve and Jessica Melman from Dermazoo; John H. Cammack, Managing Partner of Cammack Associates; John Katzman, CEO of The Noodle Companies LLC; the Brigitte and Donald Manekin Family Fund; Gregory Milken; Richard Binswanger, President/CEO of Away To Donate; Dr. Wallace Boston, CEO of American Public Education, Inc.; and Eric Aroesty.
The effort is the brainchild of Dr. Barbara ("Bobbi") Kurshan, a long-time education technology investor and executive, and formerly the executive director of nonprofit Curriki. (Editor's note: Kurshan also advises EdSurge.)
The cohort officially begins on Sept. 23.