Yesterday the team of Imagine K12 announced that the edtech accelerator would merge with Y Combinator to form a dedicated edtech vertical. The merger has been in the works for about a year and with Imagine K12’s first fund ending, Geoff Ralston and Tim Brady made the decision to join Y Combinator.
“Our first fund just ended, so the timing of the move worked well. We had interest from investors for a second fund, but we decided not to raise it and work with YC instead.”, Brady told EDUKWEST in an email.
Why Y Combinator? According to Brady, there has always been a strong overlap between the two accelerator programs. Before launching Imagine K12 he and his co-founder Geoff Ralston sought advice from Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham which eventually lead to a fairly similar approach in how the Imagine K12 program would be handled. Such closeness also had another effect: Imagine K12 startups sometimes joined Y Combinator at a later stage or were even accepted in both programs simultaneously.
“Ultimately, the edtech startups benefit from this merger. There is a lot of duplication of effort between the IK12 program and YC – this merger will free up resources to spend more time on the education-specific parts of the accelerator,” states Brady. “YC and IK12 share the same philosophy regarding startups, so integration of our two programs will be effortless.”, he says.
What can edtech startups expect from the new program? “The same thing only better: more partners from which to get advice, more investors at demo day,” says Brady. “We will continue to offer education specific curriculum and continue to build out our network of educators who volunteer to test the startups’ products.” Applications for the first joined cohort are open.
Imagine K12 was founded in 2011 and has invested an average of $20.000 in over 80 edtech startups throughout the years. The financial ownership of the stakes in the earlier IK12 startups will stay separate Brady told us.
As part of the merger Brady will join his co-founder Ralston at Y Combinator as partner and you can read more about the merger on the Y Combinator blog.
Naturally, the news made an impact on the edtech scene on both sides of the Atlantic. Imagine K12 surely was among the most successful accelerator programs in education technology with startups like Remind, ClassDojo, and LearnSprout being part of the portfolio.
We therefore reached out to several of our VC and angel investor contacts to get their take on the merger and what possible implications it might have on the edtech scene. We are going to release these statements successively in the coming days.