EdSurge  announced this week that it closed a $400,000  seed funding round led by the Washington Post Co (owners of Kaplan University) and NewSchools Venture Fund.
Over the past 18 month the EdSurge weekly e-mail newsletter has become a must read - a terrific concise source for keeping up with the edtech startup world.
This round of seed capital is a very smart investment for the funders. The worldwide education technology market will expand dramatically over the next decade, with the amount of talent and dollars flowing into this sector set to increase exponentially. Education is poised to undergo a transformation that is similar in both kind and degree as what we have witnessed in other information industries. (Think publishing, news, communications, and entertainment).
EdSurge is developing a branded series of platforms (newsletter, website, conferences, future mobile app?) in which interested parties (investors, talent, decision makers) can both follow and participate in this transformation at the intersection of education, entrepreneurship, and technology.
What (completely unsolicited) advice would I give EdSurge? (And full disclosure - I have met and communicated with EdSurge's founding CEO Betsy Corcoran - and I'm a huge fan).
1. Focus on Community: I know that "community" is a huge buzz word. And I appreciate the concise newsletter format. But I find myself wondering who else is reading EdSurge? How can I share what I'm thinking about the news that EdSurge reports on? What are other folks thinking? Maybe keep the newsletter clean, but move the website to allow commenting?
2. More Critical Analysis: The reporting about which edtech companies are getting funded and which new startups are entering the space is very valuable. I'm hoping that EdSurge decides to move toward layering on critical analysis of the companies that they report on. This does not have to be financial analysis (although that would be interesting), but I'd like to see the reporting ask some critical questions of the principals involved.
3. Split the K12 / Higher Ed Coverage: I know that I should know more about the K12 world. But I just don't think that I can keep up with both K12 and higher ed. A dedicated higher ed newsletter would help me focus on the trends and companies that I need to track.
4. Fill the Hardware Review Gap: Nobody is doing independent, critical reviews of the hardware that we use in education.
5. Expand Your Platforms: A great NYTimes like mobile app (that works offline) would be much appreciated. EdSurge webinars? Conferences that get people from for-profit edtech companies and startups together with educators? Lots of possibilities.
Are you an EdSurge subscriber?
Where does this advice go off the rails?
What would your (unsolicited) advice be for EdSurge?