We all know the ED Tech Space is being disrupted. It’s also a very lucrative for both venture capital and founders building new educational platforms. CBInsights provides more data just how lucrative, as it reports that Ed Tech companies received $1.1 billion in venture capital in 2012. The report also provides us with a list of the top 10 companies acquiring and investing in Ed Tech Startups.
With $1.1B in Ed Tech venture capital financing in 2012, we wanted to take a closer look at which of the larger education companies, both private and public, have been most active in both acquiring and investing in emerging, privately-held Ed Tech companies.
Based on M&A and financing data since 2010, London-based publisher Pearson tops the list with 15 acquisitions or investments in Ed Tech companies and is followed by Providence Equity Partners-owned education software provider Blackboard.
Last week at this time I was in Las Vegas attending Blogworld Expo 2010. For Blogworld it was their fourth year and my second time attending. I had a great time meeting new friends and catching up with old ones while learning a few tips here and there. Blogworld markets itself as the world’s largest social media conference with over 3,000 attendees. Note, if you’re wondering about SXSW, SXSW is NOT a social media conference it’s an interactive tech conference with some social media sessions. During lunch on opening day at Blogworld I was sitting with a few friends and I looked around the room and noticed the lack of diversity. It’s something I’m sadly familiar with as I’ve been in the tech/web industry since 1994 but sometimes it’s just to depressing not to say anything about. Therefore without sounding like an angry mad black nerd I tweeted the following. “Standing out at @blogworld like a drop of oil in a cup of milk #bwe10 #justsayin
Sorry, Blogworld Expo organizers (Rick, Dan, Deb, Chuck, Hadji and Chris) it was nothing targeted to you or the conference saying you did a bad job trying to diversity the event or that I felt unconformable. I was just stating the obvious but if you felt otherwise I apologize. After the tweet, a few individuals saw it and said they noticed the same thing and others started checking to see if I was ok, I was. Rick and I talked and had a brief conversation about how he has tried in the past two years to add more diversity to Blogworld and a few other options for next years event. Some of my white friends who didn’t even see the tweet mentioned how they even noticed the lack of diversity at the conference. But still that doesn’t mean there wasn’t no diversity at the event. Here’s a photo from the #kloutup with some of the Blogworld attendees.
While lately in the Silicon Valley there’s been some heated conversation around the lack of women in tech, I dare to say there’s much bigger problem in the web/tech industry and that is the lack of diversity in tech. But you won’t see that on to many main stream tech blogs outside of Blackweb 2.0 because there’s very few tech diversity writers and writing about diversity doesn’t pay the bills. J
There’s also a big diversity problem when it comes to entrepreneurship, innovation and launching web/tech startups. In a report earlier this year it stated that only 1% of Internet startups being founded where black and around 1% of black founded startups were getting funded. Add those numbers to the fact that most African-Americans are online are reading gossip blogs, making rap & booty videos and lead the nation in sending SMS there’s a big online culture problem that’s not getting better anytime soon. Also when it comes to who are the VC’s and investors in the web/tech space, let’s just say if there’s only 1% of internet startups who are minorities there’s an even smaller number who have capital to invest in future startups therefore we’re going to continue to see the same demographic that we’re currently seeing in the VC investor space.
Screenshot of the sFund announcement made on October 21, 2010.
The sFund is a new $250 million Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers initiative to invest in entrepreneurs inventing social applications and services — Amazon.com, Facebook, and Zynga, the leading companies defining today’s social and online environment; entertainment and media leaders Comcast and Liberty Media, and Allen & Company LLC, who have committed to invest in the sFund and serve as strategic partners
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that but as the report states, if you’re not white, you better come with your A game and a great team if you’re thinking about asking for VC or an angle investments from anyone in Palo Alto.
There’s also the whole, let’s add a rapper who likes technology to our conference and therefore we have the diversity situation solved. I’m not saying rappers, such as Chamillionaire, MC Hammer or Jermaine Dupri don’t belong at tech conferences or are not qualified because they are. But to only add artist that’s well known instead of doing research to find other willing and qualified monitory speakers in the tech/web space is a problem and some see it as disrespectful. Regardless as Chamillionaire stated in this post he should be participating in tech events for his career and the future of the music industry. But dear conference organizers, music artist do not represent the majority of who’s making ways in technology. Would you add Britney Spears to a women in tech panel just because she has a Twitter account? #justsayin Hmm, well don’t answer that.
Personally I’ve been what some have considered lucky to speak at over 60 meetups and conferences. In 2010 I’ve had my first two closing keynote talks and one more upcoming closing keynote panel. I have three more speaking events and I’m done for a long time. So, to the person who told @keyinfluencer they’re tired of seeing James Andrews and myself as the two black guys speaking the most at tech events, you don’t have to worry about me after November 18 as the Internet Summit is my last event.
With that being said here are my thoughts along with some feedback from others to why technology, entrepreneur, and social media conference organizers cannot fix the lack diversity problem. Note, I’m going to use the word “some” and “most” a few times because despite my experience the comments below do not apply to all races and/or minorities just what I’ve seen personally or heard from others.
There is a bigger culture problem offline
Racism exist and it’s not going anywhere or will be fixed any time soon.
The digital divide in terms of race, privilege, location and access is growing
“Most” African-Americans in the tech/web space don’t want to pay more than $100 if that to attend a conference
Minorities feel uncomfortable at events that are not directly targeted to or the focus
Minorities like to hold and host their own events where they have more control
African-Americans don’t fly as much as other races
If conference organizers add minorities to events just because of their race and not because of their work/value then others will be upset and it’s not fair to the attendees
Attitudes – I’ll leave it at that
Conference organizers don’t know who to ask or where to look for minority speakers
Minorities are not trying hard enough (including myself) to help educate others about entrepreneurship, social networks, web/tech startups and online technology
Overheard: “It’s a White’s man Internet, we’re just tweeting in it”
I think I had more but I’m getting depressed just thinking about it.
In 2009 while attending FOWA I had a chance to interview with Chris Messina who’s been a voice over the years noticing the lack of diversity at internet conferences and web startups. Chris provides some advice for both minorities and event organizers to overcome this problem.
If you have other solutions, please let me know in the comments
Today I start one of the most interesting trips in my life and career as a speaker. I’m currently in Boston, MA for FutureM week where I’ll be speaking on a location panel at GeoM and Inbound Marketing Summit. Tuesday, I’m hosting a live #GEOchat show from SCVNGR HQ. Thursday I’m leaving Boston for Michigan to present at Brandcamp and closing out the week I’ll present in Miami, Fl for Blogalicious 2010. If you count it, that’s 7 days, 3 cities, 2 panels, 2 presentations & 1 live video show.
Earlier this year while planning my schedule I new this week was going to be crazy but now that it’s here I’m shaking my head and asking myself what was I thinking! Everything starts tomorrow and I’m stressed out like Vampire trying to get home before the sunrise. Before agreeing to the events I wasn’t managing the new coworking/incubator office at Designbox. Also I didn’t know how I would feelbleaving LaToya aka “thewife” home expecting as she’s now four months away from #babysutton being born. Regardless, no time for stress, as it’s time to deliver to conference attendees information about why everyone should care about location based services and the upcoming TriOut world edition.
The end of the road:
Today also starts the end of a two year journey for me. After speaking/presenting and taking part of various panels at meetups, conferences and workshops, the last 10 commitments I have from now to the end of November will be the end of the road for me. Since 2008 I have spoken over 60 times and although at love it, a few things have changed along the way. Somewhere it stopped being fun and more stressful for me. Along with the fact I never thought I was good at speaking anyway and if you would tell some of my elementary classmates that I was speaking at conferences they would laugh knowing that as child I was in speech class from 3rd grade to middle school. Taking some advice from Dennis Crowley, Co-founder at Foursquare, who once told me if he spoke at all the events he was asked to speak at you’ll never get anything done. Plus most of the time before speaking I’m always supper nervous. Add that to the now competitive industry of web/tech speaking, everyone is a speaker now. Also I feel like now is a good time to slow down with LaToya and I expecting our first child, working at Designbox and trying to take TriOut to the next level. Maybe I’ll work on that book I wanted to have done by middle of the year.
I did reach some personal goals in terms of speaking such as being a keynote speaker and speaking at SXSW and BlogWorld but I never did make it to Web 2.0 Expo. Since 2008 I’ve traveled more in my life than I have the previous 32 years. I won’t say that I’ll never, ever speak at a conference or meetup again because of two things. One, money talks and two we still have TriOut to run. Meaning if a conference is beneficial to TriOut, like Where 2.0 we would consider it. I do have a talk submitted for SXSW 2011 that I’m waiting to see if approved and that may be the last time but for now I have 10 events left to close out the year. So, tomorrow starts the beginning of the end at GeoM and it ends at the Internet Summit on November 18 in Raleigh, NC. Seems like a good way to go out being Raleigh is my home.
To everyone who gave me an opportunity speak and/or participate at your event thank you.
Everyone needs to be able to make money to be able to be a going-concern. In this panel, Jason Keath of Social Fresh leads a discussion that will look at revenue streams and service models that make sense. We’ll talk to two platforms that started with revenue models. David Chang will represent Where.com and Wayne Sutton will talk about Triout’s model. We also have Josh Karpf of mega-brand PepsiCo who can tell us about how applications like Pepsi Loot are important to their marketing and revenue stream. Jason Keath is not known for shyness, so I expect he will pose the tough questions and drive panelists toward talking about useful models and cases that drive business results.
Data and Loyalty
Why does it matter? Location is an important component in doing what every brand would like to do – provide a relevant message to its audience at a time when the receiver is ready to hear and act on the message. Everyone would like a reduction of noise and an increase in overall signal. The future of marketing is not casting a wide net, rather brands conitinue to hone their communications and become trusted companions that better the lives of those who need them. In order for this to happen the way we all would like it to happen, brands need access to data and they need to be willing to give something in return to receive.
In the panel entitled “Data and Loyalty”, Melissa Parrish of Forrester leads a discussion with 2 of the industry’s top thought leaders on LBS, Aaron Strout of Powered Inc and Simon Salt of Incslingers. They have not only been vocal about the space, but built solutions that incorporate their thinking. With the focus of this panel being data, we are elated to have the founder of SimpleGeo, Matt Galligan coming out to talk about how their database / backbone aligns the ecosystem by eliminating the disparity across platforms thereby making near limitless applications possibilities – possible.
The Future of Geo
The day culminates in a visit from 3 of the top LBS platforms on the market. In the last panel we will talk to three heads of LBS technology shops and give them the opportunity not only to talk about their current plans for word domination, but about how they see the industry evolving. Jeff Holden of Whrrl, Seth Priebatsch of SCVNGR and Dennis Crowley of Foursquare, three very different location based platforms, will be asked to talk about why location is important today and what it means in the grand scheme and how it becomes increasingly useful for everyone. The end game needs to be a win for brands, consumers and for platforms and currently the fog-of-new is still very prevalent. Each company has a story to tell about engagement with the consumer, rewards, loyalty and relevant content.
This conversation will be 90 minutes so there will be plenty of time to get deep on the topic and to get the crowd involved. I’ll be moderating and as I prepare, would love to get your thoughts on some of the things you would like to hear about from these 3 gurus. Just leave a comment.
$130 per person. Beam Interactive thinker and disruptor, Graham Nelson tweeted about the charge and I think this is the proper forum to address the question. We want to be able to provide snacks and libation to our audience and record the event while covering some of our costs. As you well know, it takes a lot of time and effort to plan an event of this size (and it’s nothing compared to the entire Future M event, kudos to MITX!). The point of this session is to provide an atmosphere to push the conversation to the next level. As one of the missions of Future M, the parent conference, is to promote innovation in Boston, we are currently talking to MIT about donating any profits to an innovation scholarship.
Because some of you have asked: Where’s Gowalla? Brightkite and Gowalla both expressed regret for being unable to attend. Facebook is still a non-responder.
See You There!
Come out for a day of discussion filled with a balance of best practices, ideas, innovation and though leadership.
It’s Friday and that means it’s Follow Friday on Twitter but like last week I’m going to do a blog post instead a follow Friday tweet but with a little twist. This week I’m listing events and not just any kind of events but location-based conferences/meetups events. Here are seven upcoming location-based conferences/meetups/events/summits you should follow… I mean attend.
Over the last few weeks team @TriOut (@LawPower, @GreggVM and myself) have been on what seems like a location-based check-in speaking tour. All three of us delivered talks at the NCTech4Good conference on non-profits and location-based applications and yesterday we spoke at the inaugural Marketing Mondays at the RTP headquarters. Two weeks ago TriOut Founder, Lawrence Ingraham spoke at a NC New Tech meetup to a group of VCs. My list of recent speaking opportunities have been focused on location/geo/TriOut as well. From giving an overview of what is location-based marketing at the Triangle AMA Social Media Boot Camp, moderating the Triangle Interactive Marketing Associations panel called “Doing business the hyper-local Social Media Way” and participating in a Social Fresh Panel called The Evolution of Foursquare Marketing. Next for team TriOut we’re speaking at the Triangle AMA’s August Luncheon (8/19), the topic is Location-based marketing, it’s more than simply checking in. You can rsvp here. In October I’m traveling to Miami to speak at Blogalicious a women’s social media diversity conference to cover location-based applications and privacy. We have a few more upcoming speaking events that have yet to be announced as well.
While speaking at the various events on location-based applications/services I’ve noticed a few trends such as majority of the attendees are marketers and some are not using Foursquare or any location-based app themselves. Other trends I’ve noticed from attendees have been that everyone doesn’t have a smart phone and many are looking for use cases/case studies to see why everyone is talking/blogging about location-based applications. Basically they want to know why all of the hype! Majority of the attendees have been women and surprisingly the privacy conversation has come up less than I have expected. I’ve been thinking about some of the questions from the events and created a list of 15 trends I’ve noticed from marketers attending recent geo / location-based events.
For many marketers their first location-based application is Foursquare which is 1 1/2 year old
Quite a few marketers have never heard of Loopt and/or aware of the fact that it was launched in 2005 and has 4 millions users
Most marketers are familiar with the following location-based applications: Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite, MyTown and Whrrl.
Agencies/Marketers are learning about TriOut via social media channels and/or speaking opportunities the TriOut team have been participating in.
Marketers really don’t want another application to have to manage outside of Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and WordPress/blogs
Marketers are not familiar how location-based tech jargon is used such as geo-fence, check-ins, badges.
Marketers are unaware of the fact there are over 67 different location-based applications.
Few marketers are thinking about what is the value for the customers and are trying to sell products vs provide a valuable social experience using location-based applications.
Marketers are not taking advantage of location-based applications that provide check-in analytics via dashboards or they’re having a difficult time gaining access to it.
Everyone wants an easy way to check-in to multiple location-based applications or have customers to automatically check-in but are not thinking about the user adoption.
Agencies/Marketers are trying to understand where does location-based applications fit in with their clients social media strategy.
Everyone is excited about the opportunity to use QR codes
Most marketers are unaware of Google’s location-based applications and how they work with businesses (Google Places, latitude, tags)
Some marketers don’t see the value of location-based apps using game mechanics to gain users
Marketers are not thinking long-term relationships with location-based applications and want instant periciatpion from consumers.
Everyone is looking for case studies and are trying to duplicate the success stories they read via blogs.
While speaking on location-based apps I try to drive home the message to think about the customer and what can a business/brand provide to a customer to make them want to check-in. Also when it comes to location-based marketing its sometimes about what you can do offline more than online to increase your results of a location-based promotion.
Have you attended a recent meetup/conference/panel on location-based applications? If so what were some of your takeaways?
This Saturday downtown Raleigh will be packed with thousands of people participating in a full day of events for Raleigh Wide Open 5. The day kicks off with a parade starting at 11:00 am and ends with fireworks at 10:45 pm. There’s literally something for everyone throughout the day and you can see a full list of event here: Raleigh Wide Open 5 schedule. Also during the day expect to see tons of vendor tents from local businesses. One tent everyone should visit is the Triangle.com tent. Not only will the one and only Mike Williams (@imikewilliams) be there but Triangle.com is giving away tons of cash and prizes throughout the day. You can see a full list of prizes from the Triangle.com tent here: Triangle.com Raleigh Wide Open prizes.
TriOut is pleased to announce that one of the prizes during Raleigh Wide Open will be a $50.00 Gift Card for checking into the Triangle.com tent. The tent will be located at the corner of Martin and Fayetteville Street right in front of Port City Java. Everyone who checks into the Triangle.com Tent will be rewarded with a special Triangle.com Raleigh Wide Open badge along with 10 points to their TriOut account. One lucky TriOut user will win a $50.00 gift card. The winner of the gift card will see a special “congratulations” badge. From there, find Mile Williams at the tent to collect.
We hope you enjoy Raleigh Wide Open 5 and feel free to check-in at various businesses and events downtown Raleigh, you never know what else you might win.
Good luck and thanks for using TriOut. We’re working with other businesses to offer more check-in promotions in the future. If you’re interested I can be reached at wayne at TriOutNC dot com or call 919-200-0933.