Martin Keck of Needham talked about 9 trends that most influence EdTech investors:
- The rise of the Private Equity firms, who see good potential returns in the education market, but whose entry also means increased focus on profits and cash flow, and probably lower valuations for mergers and acquisitions.
- Increased usage of digital materials in K12 means predictable annual revenues.
- Coding Bootcamps had their initial hype and consequent crash, but seem to be growing at a sustainable growth based on market needs.
- Private Equity firms are pooling together groups of companies, expecting that synergies in operations, sales, and marketing will give them increased clout, growth, and profitability.
- The marriage of content, data, and interactivity heralds success for content that is more engaging and personalized with learning analytics.
- In Higher Ed, students are looking for a financial return on their time, money, and effort, so schools that can tie their programs to employability will increasingly win over traditional colleges and universities.
- The International market is larger than the US market
- Analytics and the ease of collecting and reporting on data are increasingly a factor in the buying decision for content and systems.
- Schools and programs that that collaborate with employers could be a tsunami of success.
Angela Nelson of Stages Learning talked about the different ways of getting products into schools: direct sales through a dedicated sales force, indirect sales with independent reps or resellers, catalog and web-catalog companies, Educational Service Agencies and School Consortia, Company Websites, Short term trials or pilots, platforms or online marketplaces, freemium offers, and open education resource platforms. But also pointed out that none of them are foolproof and no one seems completely satisfied with any of the channels. Guess that’s why EdTech companies consult with me.
Sean Cavanagh of Education Week talked about trends in the demands of EdTech purchasers:
- Demand for cloud computing is rising
- Internet connectivity is improving, but it’s still not close to ideal
- Districts are demanding more transparent pricing
- Most state education budgets are s-l-o-w-l-y improving
- Districts have some more flexibility in ESSA, but no new federal money
- Educators are still struggling to integrate tech to improve instruction and need help
- Personalized learning is a goal, but the just is out on how effectively it’s being deployed
- Changing populations, demographics, and psychographics are changing demands from districts