Category Archives: Events & Conferences

Events and Conferences in education.

EdTech Pitch Battle #02 October 31st 2013

EdTech Pitch Battle #02 – October 31st 2013

EdTech Pitch Battle #02 October 31st 2013

EDUKWEST in partnership with Macmillan Digital Education is going to host the first EdTech Pitch Battle on Thursday, October 31st at 6pm GMT | 7pm CET.

The event is going to be streamed live via Google Hangouts on Air, EDUKWEST’s YouTube channel, EDUKWEST and EDUKWEST Europe.

Five education technology startups from across Europe, the U.S. and Africa are going to pitch a panel that is made up of one leading edtech blogger, one seasoned edtech entrepreneur and one edtech investor. The event is moderated by Kirsten Winkler, editor-in-chief of EDUKWEST.

The Twitter hashtag for the first EdTech Pitch Battle is #EPB02

The Rules

The pitch battle starts with the 60 seconds elevator pitches of all contestants. After the jury listened to all the pitches, the jurors are invited to ask further questions to clarify certain aspects of the product or service.

After this Q&A session the judges allocate their points. The panel votes on two aspects, pitch and the startup’s potential to make an impact in its market. Each judge can allocate 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 points to the contestants per aspect. The startup with the most points wins the pitch battle.

The live audience on YouTube and social media is also invited to vote for their favorite startup. After the pitches and Q&A EDUKWEST is going to share the link to a poll. The startup with the most votes here wins the Audience Choice Award of the EdTech Pitch Battle.

The Contestants

Alonso Chehade 9Slides

Alonso Chehade
Marketing Manager

9Slides is a cloud based presentation platform that empowers teachers to easily create online lectures by simply adding video or audio narration alongside your lecture slides. 9Slides also provides in depth analytics to help teachers track student engagement and the effectiveness of their lectures. | @9Slides

Lukas Steinbacher Cleverlize

Dr. Lukas Steinbacher
Co-Founder & CEO

Cleverlize is an online authoring platform that allows you to create individual learning apps for different mobile devices. Without any programming skills, you can create many activities, from assorted questions to interactive glossaries. Cleverlize allows you to distribute the content through its market place apps or via a HTML5 URL. | @Cleverlize

John Roberts Edapt

John Roberts

In the UK 96% of teachers’ primary reason for joining a trade union is in case a child makes an allegation against them Edapt is the only alternative to the trade unions solely providing teachers with apolitical and independent legal support in individual employment disputes and allegations. | @EdaptUK

Jeremy Amos Edvisr

Jeremy Amos

Edvisr is an app that gives students a straight-forward and fun way to search for colleges, document their experience and share it with friends. In essence, it’s the mobile social network for college search. | @Edvisr

Danny Stinfil StudyBoost

Danny Stinfil

StudyBoost is a learning management system that allows students and teachers to interact via text and instant messenger. StudyBoost allows teachers to create question batches that can be sent to their students’ mobile phones. Students’ responses are documented in real-time on a dashboard, allowing for all data generated to be analyzed. | @StudyBoost

The Judges

Frank Catalano

Frank Catalano
Intrinsic Strategy

Types of startups I’m most interested in? Ones with a real business model, not those who plan to rely on foundation or venture funding as “revenue” (I’ve seen those), and those who have educators advised (but not necessarily driving) them.

Frank Catalano is a long-time tech and edtech industry strategist, consultant, analyst and writer. He’s the founder of Intrinsic Strategy, a marketing and business strategy consultancy for education technology and digital learning firms. Clients included Apple, McGraw-Hill, MetaMetrics, the Toy Industry Association and a number of startups.

Frank has worked with MDR’s EdNET Insight service as a consulting Senior Analyst since it began. And he works now as chief marketing officer of Professional Examination Service, a not-for-profit that is the most experienced organization in professional assessment and credentialing. Earlier, Frank spent four years as a senior vice president of marketing for Pearson’s U.S. school and assessment businesses.

He writes a regular column for tech news site GeekWire and has contributed to the edtech site EdSurge and the NPR/KQED education site MindShift. He’s been both a judge and mentor for Startup Weekend EDU, is on the advisory board of SXSWedu and SXSW V2Venture, and is a former Education Division board member of the Software and Information Industry Association. He tweets at @FrankCatalano and blogs at

Jennifer Lee EdTech Pitch Battle

Jennifer Lee
Learn Capital

Jennifer Lee works at Learn Capital, where she helps evaluate and analyze investment opportunities in the education technology space. Previously, Jennifer worked at various impact investing fund managers and financial services firms including ImpactAssets, SJF Ventures, and Developing World Markets (DWM).

At DWM, Jennifer served as Vice President and Relationship Manager for the Asia and Middle East (AME) regions, where she was responsible for leading the AME team, helping to conceive and execute the firm’s investment strategies, conducting due diligence, leading the investment process from origination to closing, and managing relationships post-investment.

Prior to DWM, Jennifer was an Associate in the US Interest Rate Strategies team at Lehman Brothers, where she generated and published original research on the US Treasuries markets. Jennifer has also taught computer programming in China and English instruction in Spain. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School and B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Management Science from M.I.T.


Matthew Greenfield Rethink Education

Matthew Greenfield
Rethink Education

Matt Greenfield chairs the board of Engrade, he is a founder of Stonework Capital, an ethically oriented hedge fund based in New York City, and he serves as an advisor to University Ventures, the NewSchool Ventures Seed Fund, and the College Board.

He previously helped start three technology businesses, including Rethink Autism, DB Software (acquired by Cadre Software and now part of CA), and Synernetics (acquired by 3Com), and worked as an associate at ABS Ventures.  In addition to Synernetics, his successful angel investments include Wireless Generation (acquired by News Corp.), Atricure (NASDAQ:ATRC), and Wellfleet (merged with Synoptics to form Bay Networks and then acquired by Nortel).


Matthias Ick

Matthias Ick
Macmillan Digital Education

Matthias is heading Digital Education and is responsible for all investments and  strategic development.

He has broad experience in the digital markets ranging from VC investing , interim management to founding and selling Prior to this, he invested in early and later stage online businesses at Holtzbrinck and advised on M&A transactions. He started his career at Stern Stewart & Co. consulting on Shareholder Value Management.

Matthias holds MBA degrees from the University of Mannheim and Portland State University. He is a CFA Charterholder and a member of the German-National-Academic Foundation.

EdTech 20

Edxus Group and IBIS Capital announce European EdTech 20 List

EdTech 20

Ever wondered who the top performing e-learning companies in Europe are? Edxus Group and IBIS Capital created EdTech 20, a list of twenty innovative and fast growing companies across Europe. The top three of the list are going to be announced next week at the Edtech Europe Summit, a one day event in London which we are going to cover here on EDUKWEST.

The EdTech 20 was judged by a panel of industry experts in terms of innovation, scale, market impact and revenue growth over the past year and includes familiar startups like, Sofatutor and Mendeley which we have covered here on EDUKWEST over the past couple of years. The complete EdTech 20 list is available on the Edxus Group news section.

Interestingly, and busuu, two very fast growing startups in terms of user adoption, are missing though as far as I understand you had to apply in order to be judged. Also, we are very aware of the fact that some startups and also more established e-learning companies are fairly reserved when it comes to sharing data and are willing to share growth data in order to be part of a top 20 list.

Edxus Group is planning to spend between $64 to $77 million over the next 18 months to acquire e-learning companies across Europe in order to create a “European education champion” that can compete with US based players in the market like Pearson, Blackboard, Macmillan, Kaplan and McGraw-Hill. Early stage startups are probably not on the radar as Edxus Group is looking at “companies with €2m to €10m turnover and with an established presence in the market” according to TechCrunch.

I am going to have a call with Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet, founder & CEO of Edxus Group and Charles McIntyre, founder & CEO IBIS Capital Ltd on Tuesday to talk about the EdTech 20 and Edxus Groups’ strategy for the coming months.

All in all, a pretty interesting development for the European e-learning market and I am already pretty curious what companies Edxus Group is going to acquire to build their European champion.

Comments: Leave us a comment on Facebook and share your thoughts. You can also send us a Tweet.

anglais que peut encore l'école

Recap of the Event Anglais: Que peut encore l’école?

anglais que peut encore l'école

Just at the start of a heated national debate about the proposal to hold lectures in English at French universities, Agence Clé invited teachers, parents and experts to talk about English in the French school system.

The event started with a presentation by Divya Brochier about the state of ESL across the globe, highlighting interesting projects and political decisions in Asia, Africa and LatAm.

I had the pleasure to moderate a pitch session of five French startups in the ESL space, some of whom you might already be familiar with from EDUKWEST, followed by an expert panel.

Pre-event I had enough time to reflect on the picture I have ofthe French and their relationship with the English language. As you will probably know by now, I have been living in France for about seven years now so I had my fair share of experiences, especially as I had started as a language coach for both English and German.

To make it short, I was usually not impressed by what the French school system was capable of. There is simply too much focus on theory and not enough on real use of the language.

As part of the roundtable discussion Isabelle Mazarguil, founder of presented a survey among parents that basically came to the same conclusion. 61% of the parents surveyed think that the school does not prepare the children for the use of English in the collège (ages 11 to 14) and 81% of parents feel that the collège does not prepare them to properly speak English later on.

But there is hope nonetheless. What the event showed is that there is passion about the issue and to my surprise the most progressive person of the expert panel (maybe the event) was Rémi Danquin from the French Education Ministry. He asked questions like why in a multicultural country like France we don’t teach Arabic or Turkish. He also pointed out that other countries like Germany or the northern countries in the EU work on their accent whereas the French tend to speak English with a very heavy accent and even look down on others who work on theirs as snobs.

Just as informative and insightful to my mind was Gaël Le Dreau’s presentation of the primelangues project on the pedagogical and cognitive benefits of teaching scientific subjects in a foreign language, i.e. teaching math in Russian and his perseverance that it’s not all about English but rather about multilingualism. This aligns with a proposal by the European Commission that every EU citizen should have two foreign languages at her disposal.

Another great example of grassroots in the education system was Marie-Hélène Fasquel who presented how she is teaching English hands on with her students using social media and new technologies on the Internet.

All in all we had some pretty passionate discussions going on and the event could have been much longer as we only hit the tip of the iceberg. I am pretty sure this won’t be the last time we met in Paris to discuss this hot topic.

The team at Agence Clé did a great job with hosting the event and putting together such a diverse group of people so that I am already looking forward to the next one. Below you find a playlist of the different presentations and pitches, in French of course.

Agence Clé

Anglais: Que peut encore l’école? May 23rd in Paris

Agence Clé

If you happen to be in Paris and involved in the English learning and teaching space, you should not miss this breakfast / conference organized by Agence Clé on May 23rd.

The theme Anglais: Que peut encore l’école? (English: What’s school still capable of?) should lead to some pretty interesting discussions, especially in France.

Opening at 8:45am at Pépinière 27 – 27, rue du Chemin Vert 75011 Paris, the program starts with an international overview presented by Divya Brochier, English teacher at Ecole Central Paris.

The second part of the conference is going to be a pitch session animated by yours truly. The French startups that are going to pitch the audience are 4n Media, Brain Pop ESL, English Attack! (interview), Lingueo (interview) and Speaking Agency.

The third part is going to be a panel discussion, also animated by me. The panelists are Rémi Danquin, DGESCO A3, Ministère de l’éducation nationale (to be confirmed), Marie-Hélène Fasquel, English teacher at lycée Giraux Sannier, Gaël le Dreau, chargé de mission langues et TICE au CNDP, Isabelle Mazarguil from Nos, a representative of CNED, English by Yourself and others.

You get get your free ticket at the website of Agence Clé.

startup weekend edu london

Startup Weekend EDU London: The Pitches

startup weekend edu london

I am currently at the Startup Weekend EDU in London as a coach, helping the projects to shape their ideas and work on their product pitches.

I am going to add short recordings of the different groups below over the day, so check back to get the latest updates.


Team Achieve wants to build a platform that keeps track of your learning and related achievements in order to make informal learning or learning with MOOCs more valuable for both job seekers and employers.

Reading Readiness

Team Reading Readiness wants to create apps for children to help them develop core skills like reading even before they enter school.


Team Treeach is tackling the language learning market building an online platform for language teachers and students from around the world for face to face and online classes.


Team Elimu (Swahili for education) wants to tackle youth unemployment in the UK by building a Kickstarter like platform where students can upload a video CV to promote themselves to potential employers.


Team Eduudle wants to create an Expedia for online courses to help students to find the best course based on personal preferences like price, credentials etc.

Short interview with the guys from Nightzookeper, the winners of last year’s Startup Weekend EDU London who are also the organizers of this year’s event.

Short interview with a fellow mentor and co-creator of Minecraft EDU.