Among more than 30 startups vying for the top spot at the Future of Education Technology Conference’s Pitchfest competition were those focused oncoding, reading comprehension, writing and social-emotional learning. Many were crafted around the well-established idea that they could personalize the educational experience for students.
But this year at the 39th annual conference, which draws more than 10,000 attendees, judges of the competition saw something new. Many of the entries for the most innovative ed-tech startup expressed an unequivocal commitment to a social mission, as well as a desire to be profitable.
“This year I was surprised by the number who explicitly stated they had social missions,” said Kyle Steele, founder and CEO of Learn Jelly, which offers coding-based classroom programs, and the program director of Rally, a social enterprise accelerator, who served as one of the judges for the startup contest. “I feel like culturally we’re moving into an area where people are much more socially conscious of what’s going on in the world. As a byproduct, you have entrepreneurs who are really leaning into that.” Read more.