Five startup companies will receive $100,000 each thanks to a new accelerator program focused on transforming education and workforce learning, especially with advanced technology. The funding will be provided through a new partnership between Butler University, gener8tor (a global venture firm that operates accelerator programs), and TechPoint.
Through the partnership—known as the Butler Accelerator for Education and Workforce Innovation powered by gener8tor—Butler, TechPoint, and gener8tor will equip the startups with funding, workspace, mentorship, access to capital, networking, and related support for early-stage small businesses and startups from across the United States and Canada.
“Butler is consistently ranked as a leader in innovation. Through the accelerator program, our support of the next generation of companies poised to transform learning illustrates the significant value we see in this subsector and the trust we have in TechPoint and gener8tor,” said Melissa Beckwith, Butler University Vice President for Strategy and Innovation. “The program will have a huge impact on five high-growth small businesses and, in turn, the Central Indiana community.”
Businesses selected for the accelerator will be required to relocate to Indianapolis for the duration of the three-month-long program. Interested founders and startups can apply online here through January 1, 2024.
“By bringing the best and brightest early-stage edtech founders in-person to their Indianapolis campus, Butler University is showing its commitment to expanding the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Joe Kirgues, gener8tor co-founder, said. “TechPoint is key to the equation as it brings its deep wells of entrepreneurial support, connectivity, and expertise to bear.”
Edtech refers to digital innovation that affects any part of the education industry—from schools and universities to corporate learning and development, and private, individual learning. In 2021, the global Edtech market was valued at $254.8 billion and is expected to reach $605.4 billion by 2027.
“Edtech is more than a growing part of the tech sector; it’s an incredibly important part of ensuring our educational facilities are giving our students the very best start in life and access to all the tools they need to learn and thrive in the ever-technologically driven world,” said Chelsea Linder, TechPoint Vice President for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
A notable example of Indiana-born edtech is Angel Learning, a company developed by then-IUPUI professor Ali Jafari and one of his students, David Mills. Indiana University invested $130,000 in the innovative company and netted $23 million when it was sold to Washington, DC-based edtech behemoth Blackboard for $100 million in 2009. Blackboard opened an Indianapolis office on the north side and merged in 2021 with Anthology, a leading provider of higher education software solutions that support the entire learner lifecycle.
Beckwith said she expects the Butler Accelerator will help spur a greater focus on growing this sector of Indiana’s economy while, ultimately, creating companies that provide positive and sustainable solutions for today’s education and workforce challenges.
“There are few places where entrepreneurs are more supported or have more access to experts who can help them develop and get their ideas to market than Indiana,” she said. “By bringing in leaders in this space from across the US and Canada, we think we’ll both boost our local big thinkers and bring in others who we hope will find their forever home here.”
The edtech accelerator will have operations at both Butler University and the 16 Tech Innovation District located in downtown Indianapolis.