Singapore’s first edtech accelerator, EduSpaze, reveals the first cohort of startups

Singapore, 13 Feb 2020 – EduSpaze, Singapore’s first educational technology (edtech) accelerator has announced their inaugural cohort of startups. Nine early-stage edtech companies have been selected for the first cohort from 200 applicants in 25 countries. They slot into the categories of Pre-K, K-12, higher education, and corporate learning. All participating companies will present their solutions at a demo day in Singapore on 20 May. EduSpaze is managed by seed capital firm and startup incubator, Spaze Ventures and supported by Enterprise Singapore, the enterprise development agency.

EduSpaze aims to nurture a vibrant edtech startup ecosystem that serves the education sector in Singapore and Southeast Asia by supporting early-stage edtech companies with up to S$500,000 funding, providing a unique and custom accelerator programme, mentor support and a live sandbox environment in the region for proof-of-concept implementations. 

The EduSpaze team will work with founders over the course of the 100-day programme to accelerate their progress in market fit, client discovery, product development, scalability, revenue generation and strategies to attract follow-on capital investment. 

On joining EduSpaze, Dr Woo Yen Yen, Principal of Yumcha Studios, former Associate Professor at the School of Education, Long Island University and Visiting Professor at Taiwan’s National Central University, further adds, “In my experience as a professional educator, the edtech business so far has been disappointingly focused on chasing tech trends, with insufficient understanding of the nuanced realities of education and pedagogy. We are truly excited to be joining an accelerator programme that understands the need to bridge that gap so as to better impact learning outcomes.”

Jamie Tan, Founder of Flying Cape, elaborates why they are keen to participate in EduSpaze, “We are extremely honoured to be part of EduSpaze’s inaugural cohort. What particularly appealed to us was the customised experience and relevant support offered through this accelerator programme that was developed specifically for the edutech community. We believe that this deep focus will help spur innovation and growth within the industry and enable us to scale to greater heights.” 

Kickstarting the programme differently

EduSpaze differentiates itself from typical startup accelerators in numerous ways. One of its hallmarks is its anchor into evidence-based pedagogy. The programme places an emphasis on impact by ensuring that edtech products meet the pedagogical needs of educators, trainers and learners. Its effectiveness will be measured with robust methodologies to assess improved learning outcomes and other positive impact metrics. 

In week three, Education Alliance Finland (EAF) will be invited to conduct evaluations on the startups’ product and pedagogy. EAF is an expert organisation, specialising in educational quality verification. They offer a science-based quality standard and certification for educational solutions with hundreds of evaluations and certifications in over 25 countries. Each company will receive an endorsed report with their own customised roadmap. 

“The Finnish education landscape has the lead in many international comparisons and has many best practices for us to draw on. We’re excited to have Olli Vallo, CEO and co-founder of Education Alliance Finland, apply his expertise in pedagogical design of learning solutions. Our inaugural cohort will benefit immensely from their scientifically-backed methodology and quality evaluations. These startups will receive evidence-based and concrete suggestions to better improve the impact of their product,” said Niko Lindholm, Programme Director of EduSpaze and former Director of the xEdu sector edtech accelerator in Helsinki, Finland.

Following which, there will be three blocks of allocated travelling around Southeast Asia for a deep dive into the market. Companies will be brought in to understand the heterogeneous educational ecosystems in the region, co-innovate with partners and stakeholders there and gain client discovery. 

Niko further added, “We do not merely theorize about different markets in Southeast Asia. Rather, we send our startups there so that the cohort can better understand the market, its context and nuances. Not many accelerators do it as part of their programme and this is one of the hallmarks of EduSpaze and reflects our commitment to using technology to transform the education system in the region.” 

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