500 Startups revealed its latest batch of startups that is going to be accelerated in San Francisco. You can find the full list on the 500 Startup blog, but naturally we will take a first quick look at the edtech startups in this batch.
Culture Alley is a social language learning startup out of India. At first glance, it is everything we already know in language learning combined and designed for a slightly more mobile focused audience. There are aspects from live lesson platforms like Myngle, community elements from italki and structured lessons from busuu. Learners get access to free lessons via the web or mobile applications and they can book Skype lessons with tutors at a rate of $10 – $20 per hour.
All in all, nothing revolutionary but with the focus on mobile learning and the addition of live lessons there might be a solid basis for the 500 Startups mentors to work with. Also, the fact that the platform offers Hindi and Urdu is a nice distinguisher from other offers. That’s what I would double down on. You should always stick to your core expertise and leave for instance Spanish lessons to others.
Guidekick out of San Francisco creates augmented reality apps for museums and landmarks, something I wrote about nearly three years ago on Big Think. Now with faster mobile Internet connections, better GPS and more powerful smartphones and devices like Google Glass this could become a quite sizeable market. If you visit museums today you will notice how many people already use their own smartphones and an application for guided tours.
This startup comes from Brazil and is focused on vocational training for workers with less access to formal education or people with learning difficulties. Já Entendi converts books, manuals and other content into videos that help those learners to accelerate their absorption of knowledge.
Brazil is a country with huge gaps when it comes to the standard of education between rich and poor. Edtech startups that aim to fill these gaps, may it be in learning languages or acquiring the needed skills to find a job, will surely face a growing audience in the coming years.
Pijon Box out of New York is in the (once) hot subscription box vertical. What had started with boxes for women soon branched out in boxes for men, children and pets. This startup targets college students and their families. We all know that students don’t have the healthiest lifestyle as soon as they are out of their family’s home. Pijon Box curates fun and healthy products that students love and parents are happy to send. It’s also a way of staying connected.
Not really sure about this vertical as it feels a bit like Groupon to me. But then I never tried such a subscription service and my university was in the same city as my family.
And even if students soon felt Pijon Box fatigue the next year would come automatically, so the startup doesn’t necessarily need to keep their customers happy for a long time because there will always be the next group of students and parents just around the corner.
Not an edtech startup per se but still somewhat riding on the overall trend of instant problem solving. questapp, as the name suggests, is a mobile application that lets you ask questions to a global community. For example, you could snap a picture of a sign in another language and ask the community what it means.
With people having their mobile phones with them all the time, services like this could have an impact on the education sector. We already have platforms like InstaEDU where you can get access to a tutor but why not take a snapshot of a math problem and get an answer via another picture?
To sum this up there are some interesting education startups in this batch, and I am personally looking forward to the transformation of CultureAlley during the acceleration period as often startups leave 500 Startups completely transformed. Remember YongoPal / Wanderapp?