EdTech Exchange: A look beyond the horizon
A little guessing game to start with. The area of the country we are looking for is roughly the size of Lower Austria and it has about as many inhabitants as Austria. After the USA and China, it is the country with the third most companies listed on the American technology exchange NASDAQ. In the first six months of this year alone, local start-ups raised over $10 billion and 19 companies went public in 2020.
Have a guess!
Of course, we’re talking about Israel. For years, Israel has been the talk of the town as a startup nation. In addition to classic high-tech industries or FinTech, the EdTech sector is also experiencing rapid growth locally. For this reason, we wanted to learn more about the approaches and the existing ecosystem. In a joint online event with the Israeli EdTech Innovation Center MindCET, we were able to exchange ideas and combine the whole thing with exciting short presentations by EdTech startups from both countries.
Wide-ranging support for EdTech startups
MindCET will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year and now offers a wide range of services to support technological innovations in the education sector. The Innovation Centre already accompanies startups during product development and brings them directly into contact with their target groups. Advanced startups have the possibility to participate in an accelerator as well as in an internationalisation programme and to receive seed financing through a dedicated fund. In addition, teachers are also trained in the field of EdTech and the latest findings from the in-house think tank formats are published regularly. In addition to MindCET and a number of sector-independent startup programmes, EdTech Israel, the Israel Innovation Institute and EdVantage also offer various other forms of support for the currently more than 100 Israeli EdTech startups. The first major exit in the EdTech sector was in 2015, when the Israeli library software startup Ex Libris was acquired for 500 million US dollars.
Especially in the area of financing, however, EdTech Austria was also able to announce very positive news, as the Austrian EdTech startup GoStudent announced a Series C investment round of 205 million euros at a valuation of 1.4 billion euros the day before our exchange, making it the first official EdTech Unicorn in Europe.
Startup portraits of EdTechs from Israel and Austria
QuickSpeech is a mobile information control and motivation platform that automatically motivates people to learn on a daily basis. The app trains employees in short knowledge portions and activates the use of the learning application in a playful way. eSquirrel offers digital learning material for existing textbooks or own learning documents. Exciting quizzes and one-click evaluations of homework or learning analytics inspire students and make everyday work easier for teachers.
On the other hand, Cognishine and InceptionXR from the Israeli side convinced us with their pitches. Cognishine develops digital applications for teletherapy, but also face-to-face therapy sessions, across all age groups, enabling for example more effective memory and attention training during rehabilitation processes. InceptionXR is a digital platform for immersive learning experiences. By means of augmented reality, books, for example, become tangible for children and young people and a completely new learning experience is made possible.
During the event, the presenting companies received feedback and suggestions from founders and experts from both EdTech ecosystems.
Starting signal for collaboration and joint projects
Finally, MindCET presented the annual Global EdTech Startup Awards (GESAwards), the world’s largest startup competition in the EdTech sector, and called for applications and participation, especially from Austrian EdTechs. This year’s semi-final for the German-speaking region will be organised in cooperation with our partner from Germany, EDUvation. The global final will finally take place in London in January 2022.
For EdTech Austria, the MindCET approach is definitely a role model and we hope to have a similar development ahead of us in the coming years and to be able to support the EdTech ecosystem here in Austria, but also beyond national borders, in the best possible way. In particular, the exchange has shown how important it is to accompany EdTech companies through all phases, from product development to international scaling. Especially for EdTechs with the target group of schools or students and/or teachers, early exchange with users is essential, but represents a major challenge. Programmes must be created here, and at the same time the public sector must open up more to these external actors.
More information on the GESAwards can be found here:
The following articles might also interest you.