Ed Tech Funding

AT&T Seeks Ed Tech Ventures for New Funding Accelerator

AT&T wants to invest in organizations working to enhance education and improve high school success and career readiness for students. The company has just launched a new "accelerator" to fund education technology ventures, whether they're being developed by for-profit companies or non-profits.

The AT&T Aspire Accelerator will fund each operation up to $75,000 — $50,000 as an investment and $25,000 to cover program expenses. In the case of for-profit entities, the $50,000 investment is in return for up to 5 percent of equity in the endeavor. For non-profits, the money is given as a general contribution in exchange for participation in the accelerator and meeting certain program requirements, such as submitting impact measurements.

The Aspire Accelerator team will review the applications and invite finalists to take an interview with the selection committee. The winners will be selected, according to the company, "based on their ability to create and scale exponential change in education that will empower educational and/or career success." Extra credit goes to those projects with "an ability to reach and/or impact at-risk students."

The minimum requirements to apply for the program are threefold:

  • The team must be working on a product or service that uses technology to support students' educational or career success;
  • It must already have the start of a viable product and some proof of product-market fit; and
  • It must have at least on member who will participate in the Aspire Accelerator.

Along with the funding, winning applicants also receive mentoring from AT&T staff and external experts within education and technology and access to a national platform, the broader AT&T Aspire initiative, which is promoting education innovations on a national scale. Applications for this first round of the initiative are due by Feb. 20, 2015. Applicants will be notified of their status by April 15. The program will officially kick off in May; and "demo day" will take place in October.

"Technology is changing how teachers manage their classrooms, how students digest information, and how parents and administrators communicate," said Charlene Lake, AT&T's chief sustainability officer. "The AT&T Aspire Accelerator is designed to support and scale ed tech ideas that make brighter futures — ideas from for-profits and non-profits that want to make a difference."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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