17.06.2015

The best places to fund EdTech startups are far from Silicon Valley

Image | Eirik

For tech startups, there is a world outside the famous Silicon Valley. The EdTech sector is demonstrating this by merging education and technology beyond the birthplace of giants like Google and Facebook.

There are several reasons why EdTech is more successful outside the Valley; a place where all sorts of startups are born, grow and reproduce; than within it. But all of these reasons can be summed up succinctly: business models favored by Silicon Valley investors and entrepreneurs don’t meet the needs of the world of education.

As the American investor John Doerr points out, the education sector is incompatible with the climate of Silicon Valley because “there’s no easy money, there’s no quick money … It takes longer.”

Furthermore, according to the founder of the innovation network Educelerate, Christopher Nyren, the fact that advertising and other business models commonly found in Silicon Valley rarely work in education is one of the reasons why EdTech cannot take off in this area. To top it off, the creation of new companies in this entrepreneurial center is just too expensive for education.

Life beyond Silicon Valley

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Image | CB Insights

American cities like Boston and Baltimore work through various organizations to become hubs for EdTech startups, after failing to keep up with the frantic pace of the Silicon Valley economy.

Entrepreneurs on this side of the pond have also taken advantage of the fact that Silicon Valley was unable to adapt to the demands of the world of education and Europe has become a real hotbed for EdTech startups.

The list of startups seeking to revolutionize education with the help of technology is vast and varied in Europe. From startups established in London such as Memrise or FutureLearn, to other big and successful startups from all over the old continent, such as iversity (Berlin), Brainly (Krakow) and DigiSchool (Lyon), the Spanish Infantium o Smartick, or Kahoot in Norway.

There is a world outside of Silicon Valley for startups, including some sectors that completely fail to adapt to this entrepreneurial ecosystem par excellence. EdTech is proof of this, which signals a great opportunity for the rest of the world.