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EdSurge News: Four Strategies for Edtech Entrepreneurs to Gain Credibility and Open Up New Doors With Education Customers


Emerging technologies have the potential to reshape the educational landscape. From the earliest stages, as Pre-K parents search for activities and resources to nurture their child's growth, to K-12 schools adopting technology to improve student outcomes and operational efficiencies, the impact of modern learning tools is undeniable. The broader post-secondary landscape, including higher education and workforce development, has also quickly embraced online learning and up-skilling opportunities to better engage students and employees remotely.

Navigating this evolving landscape, edtech founders are confronted with many challenges in taking their products to market. Here’s how maintaining a focus on data, analytics and the responsible use of artificial intelligence can help edtech founders earn trust with their customers, unlock new opportunities and positively impact educational outcomes.


The AWS Education Accelerator application is now open. Apply now.


Key milestones in education innovation

Looking at the innovations in education over the last few decades shows how much the landscape has adapted and changed. In 2002, a critical transition occurred when 94 percent of public schools secured always-on broadband connections, granting educators and students increased access to rich media content. This was followed in 2006 with Amazon’s launch of Amazon Web Services (AWS), which enabled edtech entrepreneurs to build their solutions in the cloud, allowing them to rapidly and constantly iterate based on customers’ needs throughout the academic year.

By 2010, we saw a more intentional focus on learning standards, which provided curricular innovators an opportunity to develop materials tailored to the depth and rigor of the new standards, bypassing the constraints of outdated materials. Meanwhile, a trend that began in the 1990s was picking up steam — one-to-one computing. By 2015, technology had become an integral facet of learning, with devices ubiquitously present in students' hands.

Then, in March 2020, schools across the globe closed their doors, quickly pivoting to online instruction. Virtual classrooms became the norm. Edtech startups rapidly launched and scaled solutions, ranging from mental health supports to online proctoring tools. This abrupt transition not only changed the immediate education landscape but also left its mark on the future of education.

Today, as we navigate the post-pandemic era, the education industry is faced with numerous challenges, such as teacher shortages, declining enrollments and cybersecurity threats. Yet, this period is also marked by the promise of AI and the opportunity for educational institutions to develop robust partnerships with edtech startups to address these most pressing challenges.

Unique challenges of the education market

In education, alignment and collaboration are essential as edtech founders develop their go-to-market strategies. Founders must recognize that education sales involve multiple stakeholders, ensuring that varied perspectives are considered and the best solutions are adopted. They must align their planning to the academic calendar and the distinct buying cycles of the educational market.

Standards around security, compliance and compatibility are critical because they reinforce a commitment to safeguarding student information and ensuring quality solutions. And a recent push for evidence-based solutions with demonstrated efficacy increases the likelihood of positive implementations.

4 Ways to earn trust and unlock new opportunities with institutions

For edtech founders, the future is full of opportunities to reshape and elevate the learning experience. By maintaining a focus on data, analytics and the responsible use of AI, here are four ways founders can address some of the unique challenges in education to earn trust with customers and unlock new opportunities for growth.

  1. Data privacy and security. Adherence to privacy laws, like the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), is non-negotiable. Beyond compliance, data should include robust security measures to protect sensitive information and should be delivered in a way that is actionable and efficient for educators.
  2. Evidence-based solutions. Educators want proof of efficacy. They want to know that what they're investing in delivers the intended outcomes. Furthermore, by harnessing data analytics, founders can collaborate closely with educators to refine instructional methodologies, refine product attributes and enhance learning materials.
  3. Compatibility with existing systems. It’s essential for edtech solutions to integrate with existing systems. Adopting standardized data formats and helping to reduce the number of isolated systems leads to a more streamlined experience for both students and educators.
  4. Responsible use of AI. Founders have the exciting task of exploring AI opportunities for educators. As they engage with customers, they should be diligent in their implementations by proactively identifying and addressing biases in data utilization or interpretation to ensure the outcomes are fair and equitable for all learners.

The future of education is full of opportunities for edtech founders to transform raw data into actionable insights for educators. Combined with the undeniable potential of AI, edtech founders have an incredible opportunity to partner with educators and help solve some of the most pressing challenges in education.

Apply today for the AWS Education Accelerator

To help accelerate innovation in education for edtech companies, AWS has launched the new AWS Education Accelerator. The first cohort is focused on startups that can demonstrate early-stage traction with solutions aimed at enhancing the teaching and learning experience and improving educational outcomes.

The AWS Education Accelerator is a 10-week immersive program open to edtech startups globally. Applications are being actively accepted through November 17, 2023. This hybrid program will kick off with an in-person event at an Amazon office.


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