Six years ago, Arizona State University was working with fewer than a dozen technology companies. Today, that number is well north of 100 technology partners, says ASU president Michael Crow. And by tomorrow, that count may well increase.
The university that lends its name to one of the most posh education conferences is partnering with not one—but two—Silicon Valley venture firms to launch a new edtech accelerator. The ASU Draper GSV Accelerator, announced by Crow at the final day of the ASU+GSV Summit, is now accepting applications from startups building higher-ed products and services.
The program marries the country’s largest public university system, a bullish and prolific venture capital firm that has invested in 64 edtech companies, and Draper Associates, which, in addition to investing, also operates its own “university” to help train aspiring entrepreneurs.
“Innovate and partner, innovate and partner,” Crow said onstage. “We’re creating a way to take new ideas from companies in the edtech space, and walk them through the process of prototyping their tools our testbed of students and faculty.”
The accelerator will run two programs per year, with five to seven startups in each cohort. Each applicant should have raised some capital (seed or Series A) with products that are ready to be tested at ASU. The program website offers nearly a dozen priority areas that it is seeking solutions for.
Participating companies will give up two to five percent of equity in return for up to $50,000 in funding for transportation and product development costs. There is no geographic limitation for interested entrepreneurs, and no requirement for re-location.
Throughout the four-to-six month program, companies will have access to ASU’s on-campus network of faculty, staff and students to pilot and test the effectiveness of their tools and services. Products that pass muster will be awarded certificate that is supposed to signal that the its readiness for adoption in the market. Each company will also get a white paper that details findings and results from the pilot.
The accelerator’s first partner is CampusLogic, a Phoenix, AZ-based startup that develops software to help higher-ed institutions and students manage the financial aid process. The program is expecting to accept four more companies by August 1, 2016.