Major research university, leading investors partner to pilot and certify new learning technology ventures
SAN DIEGO, CA – For the first time, a comprehensive research university is joining leading venture capitalists and investment advisors to source, fund, pilot and credential higher education technology companies.
The ASU Draper GSV Accelerator will help the best learning technologies quickly enter the market by providing product validation and executive education focused on how to partner with universities. It will also provide the resources traditionally associated with an accelerator program: financial capital, mentorship and access to investors’ networks.
The project was announced at the ASU GSV Summit. It is being led by:
- Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE) -- the exclusive intellectual property management and technology transfer organization affiliated with Arizona State University (ASU), the top ranked university for innovation by U.S. News & World Report.
- Draper Associates -- the San Mateo, CA-based early stage venture capital firm founded and led by Tim Draper. As a founding partner of investment firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson (which has deployed more than $5 billion in 300+ companies), Draper invested in Cruise Automation, Twitch, Skype, Tesla, Hotmail and many other successful early and growth stage technology ventures. Draper was also an early investor in learning software company Instructure, which made its initial public offering in November 2015. Draper’s education experience includes founding Draper University, an innovative entrepreneurial boot camp in Silicon Valley for entrepreneurs. Draper University offers immersive residential, online and executive sessions, and will initially partner with the Accelerator on an executive training session in fall 2016.
- Global Silicon Valley (GSV) -- the principals of GSV have built and supported the establishment of an entrepreneurial ecosystem in education and talent technology for the last 20 years. Having published the first education sector investment white paper, The Dawn of The Age of Knowledge, in 1996, they have been sector thought leaders and have built a platform focused on scaled innovation driving a high return on education — increasing access, lowering costs and improving learning outcomes. GSV has invested $135 million in 64 learning and talent technology companies, including Knewton, Coursera, General Assembly, Pluralsight, 2U, Clever, HotChalk and Turnitin. They co-founded, along with Arizona State University, the ASU GSV Summit, an annual celebration of scaled innovation and innovators that has grown from 240 attendees in 2010 to 3,550 in 2016. Additionally, the group's Silicon Valley based incubator, GSVlabs, has over 60 ed-tech companies.
Throughout their time in the program, accepted companies will be offered the opportunity to integrate their technology at ASU – known for its innovative partnerships and ability to successfully scale new approaches to learning -- and to have their services tested and validated by university faculty, staff and students. Upon a company’s successful completion of the highly selective program, it will be issued a certification of market-preparedness – signifying to colleges and universities that the product is immediately viable for adoption and use.
"Together with ASU and GSV, we are excited to find, invest in, and mentor the most promising young companies that can transform higher education," said Tim Draper. "ASU is a true innovator -- ranked the number one innovator in the nation -- and an ideal partner to work with to help transform education. Along with ASU, GSV continues to impact education with their premiere ed-tech conference."
“There has never been a better time to catalyze change and scale innovation,” said GSV Advisors Founder and Managing Partner Deborah Quazzo, noting that combining the strengths of ASU, Draper and GSV offers unprecedented opportunity.
It was also announced today that CampusLogic, a venture-backed technology company that developed a personalized, cloud-based engagement tool to simplify the student financial aid process, will be the Accelerator’s first startup member. The Accelerator expects to accept four additional companies before August 1, 2016.
“We’re very excited to partner with ASU as we build our innovative products,” said Gregg Scoresby, chief executive officer at CampusLogic. “We’ve had early success with over 50 customer institutions across the nation. This partnership with ASU will accelerate our growth and give us access to additional resources as we vet the next generation of CampusLogic products.”
Though the ASU Draper GSV Accelerator is ideal for learning technology companies whose product is nearing commercialization, any venture that has received seed funding or beyond is qualified to apply for acceptance. The program will offer demo events, featured space at the annual ASU GSV Summit and, potentially, workspace in ASU’s SkySong innovation center in Scottsdale, AZ. There is no geographic restriction for where a company must be based, and relocation is not required.
“ASU is the world’s largest testbed for innovative approaches to delivering higher education,” said Rick Shangraw, chairman of the board of directors of AzTE and chief executive officer of its parent enterprise, the ASU Foundation. “The ASU Draper GSV Accelerator is exactly the kind of partnership that results when we think about the possibilities of innovation rather than the limits of tradition.”
To learn more about the ASU Draper GSV Accelerator, please visit EdTechAccel.com. Applications to join the program will be available on the site on May 1.
The relationship between ASU and Draper Associates, resulting in the ASU Draper GSV Accelerator, was initiated through AzTE’s entrepreneurial and intellectual property activities in California. AzTE maintains a presence at the ASU California Center in Santa Monica to foster connections between the Arizona and California innovation ecosystems.
ASU Media Relations & Strategic Communications