EDUKWEST Sunday Review

Sunday Review: Emerge Education Launch, Aakash and Rosetta Stone

Emerge Venture Lab launches its Edtech Accelerator in London

On Thursday the team of Emerge Venture Lab opened the doors to their new edtech accelerator program in London. Located at Level 39, the startup hub at the top of London’s Canary Wharf, Emerge Education is now accepting edtech startups for their first class to start in January 2014.

Besides the usual accelerator package of a £15k living stipend, office space (with a view) at Level 39 and business support, Emerge Education wants to offer a highly specialized set of services to the participating education technology startups.

The selected teams will get coached by successful European edtech founders like Bernhard Niesner of busuu, Jan Reichelt of Mendeley and Ben Whatley of Memrise. Emerge Education also provides access to a network of educators and progressive institutions and help with consumer testing and market distribution.

Emerge Education also partnered with Arbor Education which will give the startups access to its data model, enabling them to seamlessly integrate with Arbor’s international customer base of schools.

The deadline for applications to the first class is November 17th.

Brazilian MOOC platform Veduca raises $500k Seed Round

Veduca, a MOOC platform we covered early on, announced a new seed round by its previous investors Bolt Ventures (formerly Mountain do Brazil), 500 Startups and Macmillan Digital Education (disclosure: Macmillan Digital Education is a supporter of EDUKWEST).

With its recent partnerships Veduca not only offers certificates by top Brazilian universities but also launched the first open online MBA course. If you want to get an overview on the latest developments, I wrote a longer and more detailed piece on Veduca in my weekly column for edCetera.

£29 Aakash to be available in the UK by the end of the year

Datawind’s CEO Suneet Singh Tuli confirmed at Wired 2013 that the company plans to release a £29 tablet in the UK by the end of this year. We have covered the ups and downs of the Aakash project over the years, but it seems as if the most troublesome years are finally over and Datawind is able to keep up with the growing demand in low cost tablet devices.

Rosetta Stone with new app and partnership

Two news items from Rosetta Stone this week. The first one being a strategic relationship with Academic Partnerships, a service provider in the higher education space that helps universities bring their degree programs online. Through this relationship AP can offer English language instruction to its partner universities. Students enrolled in programs at those universities get free access to Rosetta Stone Level 1 and 2 and have the option to receive access to higher levels at a reduced rate.

The basic offer is most likely to be embraced in markets like Brazil. Coming back to Veduca, its CEO Carlos Souza said that only 2% of the population understand English well enough to benefit from free educational resources like video lectures. Hence getting free access to basic English language training might be a compelling offer. If those students then have enough money to pay for the higher levels even at a reduced price is the question yet to answer. All in all, this partnership is probably more of a PR play for Rosetta Stone.

More interesting, to me at least, is the launch of a new mobile learning app by Rosetta Stone called Arcade Academy. Available on iOS devices it’s an edutainment play similar to what we know from startups like MindSnacks which, notably, just launched their first app outside of the language learning space with U.S. Geography.

Other than Rosetta Stone’s first app Kids Lingo Letter Sounds, which is currently #2 in the Kids section of the App Store, Arcade Academy is targeting adults. The app teaches 50 words and sentences in 12 games.

Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at