When EdSurge reports on financings, we typically cover investments by investors (either angels or professionals) in companies. Putting in dollars is one sign that people see a future in an idea. Yet such investments come with a cost: in exchange for financing, entrepreneurs give up a piece of their company to investors.
That’s not true of organizations that win Small Business Innovation Research Awards from the US Department of Education. The scrutiny these entrepreneurs receive is just as intense as any professional investor. The government is keen to see their dollars pay off—even if it doesn’t actually own a piece of the business.
Twenty-one edtech companies have just been awarded 2015 SBIR grants. A baker’s dozen (13) are $150,000 Phase I grants, designed to support student learning or to facilitate teacher practices in education or special education. Phase II awardees receive up to $900,000 over two years and are building products and doing pilot studies to demonstrate the usability and effectiveness of their tools.
Expect to see those Phase I winners go back for more. And expect to see the government ramp up its request for SBIR proposals again at the end of this year.
Here’s who the government is betting on: