Interesting piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Jeffery Young on education technology startups and a recent business plan contest. Glad to see my friends at U of Delaware and their students are working on some cool businesses.
Leaders of 10 education-technology start-ups had eight minutes each to pitch their business plans in front of an audience, get grilled by a panel of venture capitalists, and then face a popular vote online. The big prize: marketing help from Educause and Google.
The start-ups’ chief executives, most of them in their 20s and 30s, talked fast, and when asked by the expert panel what their biggest obstacles were or how they could succeed when others had failed, most answered in slick sound bites that had clearly been rehearsed.
Their mission was to clearly state a problem in higher education they were trying to solve, and then show how their tool would do it.That might sound simple, but one member of the expert panel, John Cammack, of Cammack Associates, said that it’s hard to find a budding entrepreneur who can also make a successful pitch. “It’s one in 50,” he said. He’s also looking for intangibles: “My job is to find companies that have the intellectual skills, the management depth, and really the resolve to take the idea to full realization.”