How To Handle the Wild Ride That Is the EdTech Marketplace

 

Never before has edTech been more essential, or more coveted in the investment community. In this of EdTech Today, Liam Pisano, Managing Partner at EduLab Capital Partners, talks about the current phenomenon and what it means for the industry moving forward.

EduLab Capital Partners is a seed-stage venture capital firm focused on learning and workforce technologies, investing in business models that transcend the traditional education landscape. EduLab’s Boston and Tokyo-based team provides foundational support to entrepreneurs to help expand their customer base, make key early-stage hires, and raise additional capital for profitable and sustainable growth. The firm’s global network of partnerships and distribution channels provide its portfolio companies with the depth and reach to quickly accelerate product integration and scale impact.

One recent example of EduLab’s work is a round of seed funding it provided for writing instruction and feedback company Prompt. The new capital brings Prompt’s total funding to $1.9M.

Three MIT engineers founded Prompt to take a systematic, practical approach to making people better writers. Their first market is providing feedback on college admissions essays, where their writing coaches will support applicants on more than 50,000 essays this year.

“Writing is an increasingly important part of college admissions, a trend expedited by COVID-19 as two-thirds of US colleges are now test-optional or test-blind,” said Liam Pisano, Managing Partner at EduLab Capital Partners. “Prompt partners with high schools and organizations to make admissions essay coaching and feedback accessible, while also building generalizable skills that translate to all writing. They are at the forefront of the next generation of writing assistance, taking on higher-order writing skills in a scalable fashion.”

Prompt will use the proceeds of the round to expand its course offerings for remedial English and English learners within and outside of the United States, as well as grow its presence in India, the Middle East, and Asia.

Prompt’s instruction and feedback focus on higher-order writing skills, such as content, structure, and clarity. This actionable approach results in three out of four Prompt students being accepted to one or more “reach” colleges, where their test scores and GPAs fall below that of the average admitted student.

“An important part of writing is understanding your audience, yet most students neglect to consider what admissions officers are looking for – proof the student will be successful in college and beyond,” said Brad Schiller, Prompt’s Co-founder and CEO.

Beyond admissions, Prompt partners with K-12 and postsecondary institutions to deliver online writing skills courses and asynchronous writing feedback. The company has generated significant student gains in remedial English and Advanced Placement courses.

“Writing is structured thinking,” Schiller said. “Unfortunately, the world’s education system is not structured to support students in writing. Our analysis shows that only one in ten students exit the U.S. education system with adequate writing skills for the workforce. We’re taking research-backed instruction and scaling it in an individualized way across education globally.”

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