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Why I’m Still Bullish About the State of Edtech

Education technology concept

In the next few days, thousands of edtech entrepreneurs, investors, educators and policymakers will flood a hotel in San Diego to attend the Mecca of Education Innovation Optimism known as ASU GSV. So now is the perfect time to reflect on the state of edtech.

I was lucky enough to attend the inaugural ASU GSV back in 2010 in Tempe, Arizona. It was a modest two-day affair: maybe 350 attendees in sweaty overcrowded rooms, a few speeches by CEOs and academics. This year’s 13th edition will swamp San Diego’s waterfront for four days and feature 1,000 speakers, including Thomas Friedman and Margaret Atwood, plus the buzziest for-profit companies in our industry. More than $1 billion in headline-grabbing transactions are likely to be announced at the event.

Five years ago I wrote a piece for EdSurge entitled “Why I’m Optimistic About The Next Wave of Education Technology,” and at the time I wanted to counteract the feelings many were expressing that the edtech bubble was about to burst. The prior year, my former chief Bill Gates headlined ASU GSV and received a standing ovation for championing technology’s power to transform teaching and learning. A small but mighty movement was building – and it needed time to grow.

It’s hard to remember now, but many industry colleagues felt edtech was a frothy market in 2017.

Roll forward to today, and our firm New Markets Venture Partners is tracking almost 10,000 U.S. based education and workforce technology companies, together amounting to more than $150 billion in market capitalization. And almost a third of these companies are likely to be represented at next week’s ASU GSV. One of our portfolio companies LearnPlatform publishes a regular “Edtech Top 40” list of the most used edtech products in K12 schools nationwide: perhaps unsurprisingly, Google products take 8 of the top 10 spots. What may surprise you, however, is the average K12 school district uses a whopping 1,447 edtech products per month. Today’s K12 educators are more digitally native than ever before.

When I started my first edtech business in 1998, our competitor Blackboard had less than 10 employees and customers.

Read the full article and get the data here.

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