With only 2 days left to apply for xEdu acceleration program, we want to share with you one of the highlights of this year's XcitED event — the keynote on investing in edtech by Michael Staton, Partner at Learn Capital

In this keynote, Michael shares his insights on edtech market and gives a set of concrete steps for entrepreneurs to get funded and succeed in the education business. Here, we highlight only five big steps, the full presentation you can watch for free on Telia Digitalist TV.

#1 Scale Exponentially and Rethink your Growth Engine

"One of the things I've always admired about the Nordics is that startups assume that they have to go global instantly to even get off the ground. And that's true, true for mobile, true for gaming. But for some reason, in education, particularly in Finland, a lot of the startups that I see tend to be very inward focused for quite some time before they go "wait a minute, does our solution apply to the rest of the world?"

Venture capital time frame is 5-7 years. So if you can't become basically a giant business in that time — either don't raise venture capital or rethink your growth engine."

Image credit: Michael Staton, Learn Capital

Image credit: Michael Staton, Learn Capital

#2 Use Breakthrough Models

"Breakthrough models are the insight into the business model or into the organisational structure that allows it to achieve some sort of "10x" impact on some metric that matters: whether it's 10x less cost, 10x less time, 10x more effective, etc.

If we use the fantastical language of the Silicon Valley, we may call the exponential company a beanstalk, and the breakthrough model, sometimes I call it alchemy. So if you have magic beans, if you have alchemy, if so — you might be a unicorn."

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Image credit: Michael Staton, Learn Capital

Image credit: Michael Staton, Learn Capital

#3 Understand your Path to Market

"Innovation never starts in the mass market. They either start in unserved markets or extreme markets. You have to start there and move your way to the mass market. Otherwise, you're probably end-up failing."

Image credit: Michael Staton, Learn Capital

Image credit: Michael Staton, Learn Capital

#4 Differentiate or Die

"Another common thing that education companies don't do — they don't look around the world for the education companies they are going to compete with and they don't differentiate enough. In our experience, the more differentiated you are, the more you escape any competition whatsoever, the more you are outside of existing categories, the more likely you are to achieve that breakthrough growth."

#5 Focus on your Plan

"The entrepreneur thinks that the plan is something that you tell your investors so they give you more money and leave you alone. Actually, you need to: 

  • have achievable milestones;
  • understand where are you spending your money and why;
  • make sure you have an appropriate team size;
  • be well capitalized;"

Apply for xEdu Spring '18 acceleration program

Every early-stage startup needs support to grow into a sustainable business. We, at xEdu, have been building the best ecosystem for edtech companies for two years already. Based in Finland, we maximize upon the expertise of our nation’s superior educational system as well as pioneering tech/gaming scene and combine it with our dynamic global network of innovators, educators, entrepreneurs, and investors.

The application round for our fifth batch is closing on 31 December. Don't miss your chance to put your company on the radar of Learn Capital and our whole investor network.

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