EDSi, a Collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, Invites 8 Entrepreneurs Into Newest Cohort

Thursday, October 29, 2015
Media Contact: 

Kat Stein, Penn GSE/katstein@gse.upenn.edu

*Note for TV and radio: The University of Pennsylvania has an on-campus ISDN line and ready access to a satellite uplink facility with live-shot capability.

Philadelphia, PAUnique education seed fund/incubator The Education Design Studio Inc. (EDSi) is pleased to announce the fund’s 2015-2016 cohort of education Fellows. Eight new Fellows have been selected from approximately 300 entrepreneurs worldwide, with projects ranging from learning tools to curriculum to new school models.

We are pleased to welcome such a unique group of companies,” said Bobbi Kurshan, Executive Director of Innovation @ Penn GSE. “We feel that there is a tremendous opportunity for both growth and impact – and that the cohort’s commitment to strong research will make them powerful competitors in the marketplace.”

The Design Studio fund is a one-of-a-kind collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) and a host of seasoned venture capitalists and investors. EDSi represents a new paradigm for investors, with a model that blends the best elements of an incubator, design studio, seed fund and social impact company. The fund specifically emphasizes the importance of good research for any education business. It is built to allow entrepreneurs the longer incubation time necessary for working in the education space while connecting them with the investors and advisors critical to their success. The EDSi 2015-16 ventures have existing revenue and/or funding; a sales pipeline; intellectual property in areas such as software or curriculum development; and the ability to gain leadership in a specific market and/or industry niche.

EDSi’s third cohort includes the following ventures:

  • Animat – curriculum and online language learning tools, based in Philadelphia region
  • Byndr – mobile learning management system for higher ed in emerging markets, anchored in Philadelphia and India
  • CourseLab – software that makes course design simpler, based in Baltimore/Austin/NYC
  • EDspired – an inquiry-based, arts-infused school model, based in D.C.
  • Ironwill Kids – nutrition education for middle schoolers, based in New Jersey
  • Kidogo – pre-school education for newly urbanized families in sub-Saharan Africa, headquartered in Kenya
  • Project Indus – globally-focused platform for innovative content creation, Philadelphia/Netherlands
  • SmartTrack – Penn-incubated inventory and asset management for low-income school districts, Philadelphia

EDSi’s unique “weekend-intensive” model, which occurs monthly from August–February each year, brings together entrepreneurs from across the globe to work together at the Oxford Mills Innovation Center in Philadelphia.

The EDSi emphasis on education pedagogy, data-based financial analysis, and cutting-edge technology development has distinguished the fund’s investments for the last several years. Uniquely, EDSi draws on Penn faculty and students from GSE, Wharton, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science for a variety of consulting roles. Since its inception, EDSi has consistently led strategic relationships with K-12, corporate, and higher education institutions to support early testing of demand and rapid iteration.

Previous EDSi ventures which have garnered millions in investment include Raise Labs (www.raiseme.com), ApprenNet (www.apprennet.com), and Ubongo (www.ubongokids.com).

EDSi’s Demo Day will be in early February 2015.  For more information, please see www.e-designstudio.com

About Penn GSE

Penn GSE is one of the nation’s premier research education schools. No other education school enjoys a university environment as supportive of practical knowledge building as the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania. The School is notably entrepreneurial, launching innovative degree programs for practicing professionals and unique partnerships with local educators, and the first-ever business plan competition devoted exclusively to educational products and programs. For further information about Penn GSE, please visit www.gse.upenn.edu/.


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