Best Resources for Edutech Startups in NSW

Edutech is booming in Australia. Education is the highest exported service in Australia and is growing quickly. With a steady rise in the number of edutech startups in NSW, we’ve decided to compile some of the best resources you should be taking advantage of if you’re interested or involved in the edutech scene in New South Wales. 

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Education is the highest exported service in Australia. It comes in as fourth highest overall export, just behind iron ore, coal and natural gas. So it’s not surprising that Sydney has become a hotspot for a number of very successful global edutech startups over the last two decades, including major companies such as 3P Learning, Learnosity, and startups that have now been purchased by major international education entities such as Kaplan and Laureate. 

There’s been a real emphasis on innovation and new means of implementing technology, with recent advancements into the synergy between education and virtual reality too.

This success continues. In 2018, Navitas Ventures released a study which showed that Sydney has now become one of the top 10 edutech ecosystems in the world. This has made it a particularly attractive destination for entrepreneurs looking to build their business or immerse themselves in crucial networks.

Naturally, there are some great programs, communities, investors and government support arms which you could be capitalising on.

Edugrowth. One of the core foundations of the edtech community, Edugrowth is a national not-for-profit organisation helping to boost the growth of edutech startups in Australia and provision of edutech products and services. Their mission is to create a supportive community within the sector which can see 100 million learners educated globally per annum, by 2025, through Australian education. The organisation offers a range of targeted accelerator programs for startups at various stages.

If your startup hasn’t launched yet, or is still at a very early stage of development, participating in their online 6 week pre-accelerator program will help get you off your feet. You’ll learn key skills from leading founders and spokespeople within the edutech sector to give your company the boost it needs. Workshops involve building skills in understanding how to critically assess your own ideas, select relevant markets and run tests on the quality of your product or service. And get this—it’s free so this could be the chance to transition your startup from sketch pad to reality.

If you’ve got global ambitions and are looking to embrace further growth, check out their full-time 6 months accelerator program. Connect with valuable leaders, investors and mentors within the edutech space and gain valuable insight for your business. You’ll also be able to gain investments, training and build connections to university, K-12 and tertiary partners for pilot programs and distribution. It also includes a demo day where you can showcase your business to key stakeholders. The luxury of immersing yourself in a collaborative, working environment where you can build experiences and networks—yes please

For startups in the more mature stages, you should be looking at the scale program. It should be mentioned, though, that only the top 20 edutech startups will be considered. However, it’s a great initiative since most programs in the startup scene out there, are often catered towards companies in their early growth. This scale up program addresses specific issues and hurdles faced by more mature startups, such as figuring out how exactly they will expand their business into global markets.

Muru-D, H2, Startmate. Education startups also have a strong presence in a number of the generic accelerator programs in Sydney, including muru-D, H2 and Startmate too.

Sydney Educational Technology Meet Up. The Sydney Educational Technology Meetup Group (SydEdutech) is a thriving community of around 1500 like-minded individuals passionate about creating and applying new tech solutions to real hurdles. They hold regular fun events and can connect you to experienced spokespeople and stakeholders. If you’re hoping to connect, converse, and collaborate with other startups and investors, or simply individuals who are also passionate about new education technologies, make sure to check out their facebook page to see what they have in store next for you!

Haymarket HQ. Hitting a little closer to home is Haymarket HQ (that’s us!). As an incubator supporting the growth of entrepreneurs aiming to connect to Asia, we have members with startups from a vast range of industries.

While small, our own edutech community has been growing in numbers with a recent rise in the number of member startups in the edutech space including HolonIQ, Smart Stone, Belong, and Learning Up.

This progression isn’t too surprising as Asia has become a crucial market for Sydney edutech startups with a global perspective. China has notably maintained increasing demand for our education products and services to achieve education reform across the country. 

As a tight-knit community on the smaller end of the scale, the organic interactions and shared learning between the startups here have been extremely positive. HHQ has become a perfect place to get your foot in the door and meet other startups in this field.

>> We have our very own upcoming ‘‘edutech pitch night’ to showcase the many edutech startups in our community. Check it out here! <<

In terms of angel and venture capital support for edutech startups, sector-specific investors play a more proactive role, rather than generic startup investors due to the industry’s long sales cycles and concentrated buying power.

Key investors in the industry include the major education corporates such as the investment by 3P Learning and Learnosity, the formation of venture arms of corporates such as Navitas Ventures, specific education investment funds such as The Education Fund, or angel investors who often look for upcoming startups with potential.

Key networks such as EduGrowth and SydEdutech will also give you extensive access to many investors.

StudyNSW. StudyNSW is an initiative by the NSW Government to boost the presence of international students in NSW and enhance the nature of their stay. The goal is to ensure NSW becomes a pioneer in global education which helps create global careers as part of the state government’s Industry Action Plan.

For the edutech community, StudyNSW offers brilliant partner projects for innovative and strategic startups focused on international education. Funding of up to AUD$110,000 is offered for each selected project! Edutech startups, such as Intersective for example, have been taking advantage of these grants to build their company.

Some of the key points StudyNSW looks for in organisations include the ability to secure work-integrated learning for students, improve access to employment after studies, and raise community awareness of the benefits of international students in NSW. Startups like Belong and Learning Up, for example, have played a positive role in Australia’s edutech sector, by boosting the skills and knowledge set of international students hoping to find work in NSW. 

We hope this post has been useful and we wish you all the best on your edutech startup!

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