Over the last few months, I have been sharing my thoughts on the key differentiators in this sector and the spectrum of opportunities that the Ed Tech sector brings compared to other sectors in the context of really understanding the value creation dynamics. All these views, be they good, bad, boring or controversial are, of course, my personal thoughts.
In my previous posts (feel free to look them up), I talked about
And now let’s discuss funding in terms of when and where to raise money….
7. When & Where to Raise Money
So you have finally started up your Ed tech business, have a business model, figured out where to set up, which sector to operate, how you make an impact and how to create value. You may be setting up at home or be coming up through an incubator or an accelerator but at some stage, you may need to look for the next round of funding. Funding to scale your business through breakeven to growth.
Education attracts the entire range of investors, each with differing appetites, drivers, expectations and timelines. Unlike most other sectors, financial gain may or may not be the principle driver for investors.
So let’s look at some of the investor types. This may need to be spread over a few blog posts as there is a lot to say about incubators, accelerators, angel investors, Venture Capital, Family Offices, Corporate venturing and social impact investors.
If you have got a handle on a good concept but lack marketing support or particular commercial acumen, you may have already been through an incubator and accelerator program. Incubators are great vehicles to develop and formulate your idea to ensure that theoretical or academic ideas can be converted into business models. I am a fan of incubators when placed inside institutions (corporate or academic), which act as breeding grounds for innovation. It goes without saying of course, that the leadership of incubators is typically driven by academic rather than commercial priorities. Ensuring that the core proportion can be validated, challenged and tested is a key outcome of this phase . This also allows the entrepreneur to be in a ‘safe’ environment
Accelerators act as great instructors, bringing together expert knowledge to support entrepreneurs that have already taken the step to develop their proposition further. I have been fortunate to see these in operation first hand in London and New York and recently in Boston, as well. Different countries, but very similar flavour in terms of engagement of teams, ed tech ecosystem as well as support infrastructure. If nothing else a vibrant conduit for advisors and investors to centre in on ed tech innovators and give the financial and operational fuel.
Angel investing is a pet subject of mine, having invested as an Angel in the UK and elsewhere. I wrote on the subject a few years ago and remain close to appreciating some of the dynamics at play. In my next blog, I will update my narrative in the context of Ed Tech.
Picture by Nick Ares via Flickr