AT&T Launches Edtech Accelerator for Aspiring Entrepreneurs


AT&T Launches Edtech Accelerator for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

By Tony Wan     Jan 22, 2015

AT&T Launches Edtech Accelerator for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Birds of a feather flock together, and for aspiring edtech entrepreneurs, a new hatchery has just opened for business.

AT&T has launched the AT&T Aspire Accelerator to provide financial, mentoring and business support for education startups and nonprofits. The name, along with the funds, come from the company's $350 million education initiative that has also supported Udacity and Khan Academy.

The six-month program will be headquartered in San Francisco but participants will not have to relocate. It will consist of four in-person sessions, beginning with a kickoff event and ending in October with a demo day. Participants will meet remotely with an “Accelerator Entrepreneur in Residence” once a week and have access to AT&T’s network of mentors and Aspire partners.

The program is all ears to any minimum viable product with potential to scale and improve education outcomes; special preference will be given for tools that focus on helping at-risk students. Teams are required to have at least one technical member in order to be considered.

Applications are open through February 20 for the inaugural class. Accepted parties will be notified by April 15 and the program will begin in May.

Companies will receive a $50,000 investment in exchange for up to 5 percent of equity. They'll also get an additional $25,000 to cover work expenses such as travel, business services or renting co-working space. Nonprofit participants will get the same amount, which will be provided in the form of a general contribution, as long as they regularly submit impact measurements.

Serving as Director of the AT&T Aspire Accelerator is Jacob Saperstein, who comes from a public affairs background. He started at AT&T in 2012 as Director of Strategic Innovation Alliance and later worked as Director of Innovation Policy and Social Investment.

With the launch of this accelerator, the US will be home to seven education-specific accelerators that offer financial support. Others include Imagine K12 (SF Bay Area), LearnLaunch (Boston), Kaplan EdTech Accelerator (New York), co.lab (San Francisco), 4.0 Schools (New Orleans) and Education Design Studio, Inc. (Philadelphia).

Disclosure: EdSurge CEO, Betsy Corcoran, is on the external Board of Advisors. Other advisors include Charles Best (founder and CEO of and Sebastian Thrun (founder and CEO of Udacity)

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