For EdTech Growth, Think Outside of the K-12 Bubble

There are a lot more opportunities in education than just K-12 Public Schools.

woman floating in a bubble

The word EdTech, to most people, brings to mind technology tools for the K-12 public education market. And that is certainly a huge market with a lot of opportunity for a savvy EdTech CEO. But, when developing your EdTech marketing and sales strategies, sometimes you might do well to think outside that traditional marketplace and look at some alternatives.

Go Private

Some EdTech companies might benefit by looking into K-12 private schools. You might make the assumption that it is a prohibitively small marketplace, but that is not true. Private school PK-12 enrollment in the US in 2013-14 was nearly 5.4 million students, representing 10% of the total student population nationwide. There were 33,619 schools that year, which was 25% of all schools in the country.

Go Vocational

The Vocational Education market is massive. Most people think of vocational schools as post-secondary education institutions that teach the skills needed to work in a specific industry. The National Center for Educational Statistics breaks vocational education into the following categories: Agriculture, Business and office, Marketing and Distribution, Health, Home Economics, Technical Education, and Trade Industry. There are then many subcategories within each category, ranging from agricultural sciences to nursing to HVAC installation and repair to cosmetology. Maybe the technology you’ve developed for k-12 could translate into one or more of these areas of vocational training.

Continuing Education k-12 education quote

The biggest EdTech acquisition in history, as far as I know, is when LinkedIn bought Lynda for $1.5 billion. Lynda was an EdTech pioneer, offering video lessons online for people to learn everything from video editing to using Microsoft Excel. They never targeted the K-12 market, they targeted people who would pay to increase their knowledge about a subject, for both professional and personal reasons. There also might be EdTech opportunities in the type of continuing education that professionals have to complete on a regular basis, be it lawyers, veterinarians or accountants.

Education During Incarceration

A vastly underserved market, there could be major opportunities for EdTech in education in the jail and prison systems across the country or around the globe. While there will surely be major security and safety regulations surrounding education prisoners, maybe that is where the opportunity lies. An efficient, new way to use technology to teach prisoners a skill or allow them to earn a degree could be a large market, with the added societal benefits of reducing recidivism, facilitating re-entry of the prison population back into society.