Make sure your EdTech concept is based on strong academic research and proven results.
There are far too many companies in the EdTech space that are based on good ideas with no research behind them. Sometimes these good ideas work successfully in other industries and it is simply a matter of adapting it for use in the Education space, and Voila! Millions of dollars in revenue.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Education is completely different than almost any other industry, and you can’t force some technology upon education thinking it will work, because it worked so well in banking or for making restaurant reservations. In other words, there is no “Uber of Education.”
Far too often, the basic foundation for an EdTech startup is based on an assumption. It is rare that an EdTech company gets the opinion of actual educators during the research phase of their product. Or the initial build of the prototype. Or the testing. In fact, most EdTech startups don’t get opinions about what they are doing until they have the product finished and are ready to go to market.
Why is this? Because most EdTech startups are founded by technologists who want to get their great idea working just right because they just know it will obviously be huge in education. Well, the truth is, they don’t know it will be huge in education, they assume it will be huge in education. And this assumption has been the downfall of many companies.
Research is the Key to Success
Investing in EdTech is such a new avenue for investors that it wasn’t that long ago the people were based on the cool interface and the promise from the CEO that their product was going to have wild success in the education market, which was a wild assumption. Most investment houses have wised up to the fact that a new app or technology has a much greater chance of surviving the brutal competition in the education sector if it is based on actual academic research and proven results.
As Bobbi Kurshan, Ed.D., says in the video, EdTech Entrepreneurs: No Straight Line to Success, “They (EdTech founders) don’t know the academic research behind what they are doing. They go out to build something they think is wonderful and build it in blue, but all the research says red. That doesn’t mean blue won’t work, but they better fully understand why red is working and why they think blue will be better rather than just assuming it is.”
Just the Facts
If you want a much better chance of not ending up in the startup graveyard, make sure you get educators and researchers involved in your idea from the beginning. Having strong research and facts, rather than assumptions, will greatly increase your chances of success.