How to Build an Edtech Unicorn
In terms of business, a unicorn is a private company that’s worth at least $1 billion. There are more than 250 unicorns across all industries with education making up around ten overall on a like-for-like basis, meaning they were started recently or in the last decade raising venture capital, according to Holon IQ. There are so few edtech unicorns, what will it take to build an edtech unicorn?
1. Start out with the aim to create a unicorn
Building a unicorn is an extraordinary undertaking and it requires an extraordinary mindset. In order to achieve those exalted heights, you must in the first place be driven to create something that has the potential to bring about radical transformation. Edtech founders must establish authenticity by demonstrating a firm belief in their product’s potential to radically improve teachers’ and students’ lives.
2. Create technology that can be integrated
There is a huge opportunity for edtech companies to develop technologies that can be integrated into education in a way that is effective, productive and essential to learning that teachers would not be able to function without it. In other words, the next winning edtech product or service will be something that educators will immediately recognize as something they can’t imagine doing without going forward.
3. Learn the value of failing forward
Failing forward means to learn from past setbacks to build future success. When you’ve put your product on the market and it’s rejected by consumers, admit and accept failure, but don’t leave it there. Most unicorn success stories came about as a result of developers whose products were initially rejected, but who decided to rebuild their product to meet consumer demands. Many products are top products due to the creators persistently working on initial failures.
4. User-focused design is paramount
Edtech developers need to start out by focusing on user-focused design. The user interface itself must be submitted to numerous trials and teacher feedback. User-focused design is very important right from the beginning otherwise the product will end up not being accepted. Consultation with end-users is crucial for the successful development of an edtech product that will create a real impact.
5. Acknowledge the risk factor
Schools are not risk-tolerant. It is simply too costly for schools to try out different edtech solutions, financially and in terms of time and effort. Many schools and school administrators will not implement a new learning system if they think it will only bring about modest benefits for students and teachers. The risk is too high that they’ll be wasting their time and money. So, tech entrepreneurs must come up with a product that’s proven to make a fundamental change to how instruction and learning happen.
Admittedly, it’s not easy to create a unicorn, edtech-based or otherwise. Starting out with the idea to create something big and really disruptive is one way. You can also find out about the steps that some entrepreneurs are taking to reach their goal of becoming top pioneers in the edtech market