Startup Competition Guide


Accelerators targeting EdTech companies

They include acclerators from Intel, AT&T, Y Combinator and NYU

Innovation series by Steven Loeb
January 4, 2018
Short URL:

For startups, there are numerous paths for getting their name out there. One way, which Vator has been covering recently, are startup competitions, but another popular method to get a foot in the door, as well as some funding and traction, are accelerators. These are programs that provide companies advice, guidance and various forms of support for startups in their early stages. They also often invest in the companies, for a certain equity stake.

Need a list of startup competitions, challenges, accelerators, etc. from around the world? Check out VatorX. You can find them, or list yours!

There are some very well-known accelerators out there, including Y Combinator and 500 Startups, which have made their names through various successful alumni. Those programs fairly general, accepting companies from a variety of different spaces. 

For some companies, it may help to join an accelerator that only focuses on their specific area. That's especially true for those in more specialized spaces, which will have their own unique challenges and regulations.

Here are some of the accelerators that are focused specifically on mentoring companies in the EdTech space:


"The Intel® Education Accelerator program seeks out start-up companies who share our passion for educational excellence. We work with a number of eligible Edtech companies each cohort to help them grow from their early stages to become transformative companies striving to change education for student success."

Investment amount: Selected companies receive up to $100,000 from Intel Capital

Program benefits: 

  • Start in Silicon Valley

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the accelerator provides selected companies with office space for the duration of the progra

  • Connect Globally

Gain access to education technology decision makers and partners based on Intel® Education’s relationships in more than one hundred countries.

  • Gain Expert Insight

Work with market insights from Intel® Education that have helped more than fifteen million teachers successfully integrate new technology into their classrooms.

  • Learn from the Best

Collaborate with senior-level industry leaders across technology, business, and education for mentorship that moves your business forward faster.

Portfolio companies:, FlashGrade, KiraKira


"The Aspire Accelerator works with organizations that use technology to help students succeed, strengthen schools and communities, or prepare learners for employment."

Investment amount:  $100,000 AT&T Aspire investment and an additional $25,000 to cover costs associated with the program.

Program benefits: 

  • Access to expertise, services and relationships tailored to your organization throughout the 4-6 month program.
  • Stay where you are based. Unlike other accelerators, you do not have to move to participate in the Aspire Accelerator.
  • Receive access to a dedicated Entrepreneur in Residence, UI/UX design services, and opportunities to participate in education conferences.

Mentor makeup: Chris Baum, Jack Crawford, Lauren Dibble, Mat Frenz, Mike Marriner

Portfolio companies: BookNook, Earshot, Learn Fresh, LiftEd, ListenWise



"LearnLaunch Accelerator provides the most promising edtech startups worldwide with seed funding, an unmatched team of mentors, intensive coaching and all the tools needed to grow a successful edtech startup."

Investment amount:

  • Up to $70k investment for Boost, athree-month residential program. ($20k investment for 6% at start of program. Additional $50k convertible note if milestones are hit)
  • Up to $120k in investment for Breakthrough, a distilled four-week boot camp ($50k convertible note at start of program. Additional $70k convertible note if milestones are hit.)

Program benefits: 

  • Free office space and discounted services
  • Free access to classes, events, and thought leadership provided by LearnLaunch & The Capital Network
  • Intensive coaching from partners with decades of edtech experience

Mentor makeup: Adam McGowan, Anthony Principe, Charles Fadel, David Levy, Jean Hammond

Portfolio companies: Cram Fighters, ChalkTalk, Listenwise, Authess


"Imagine K12 is the education vertical within Y Combinator. Collectively, Y Combinator and Imagine K12 have backed over 100 education technology startups. Join our community of over 200 edtech entrepreneurs for the ​upcoming batch."

Investment amount: We'll invest $120k in return for 7% of the company's equity

Program benefits: 

We ask the founders of each startup we fund to move to the Bay Area for the duration of their cycle, during which we work intensively with them to get the company into the best shape possible. Each cycle culminates in an event called Demo Day, at which the startups present to an audience that now includes most of the world’s top startup investors.

During each cycle we host a dinner once a week at Y Combinator and invite some eminent person from the startup world to speak.

There’s no limit to the number of office hours they can book; startups talk to us as often as they want, which in practice varies enormously depending on the startup and where we are in the cycle.

Portfolio companies: ClassDojo, Clever, Socrative, Codecademy


"Combining the unabashedly innovative spirit of education technology with the academic rigor and excellence of one of the nation's top-ranked education schools, the Jefferson Education Accelerator aspires to bring transparency and a relentless focus on outcomes to evaluating and supporting the most promising education solutions."

Investment amount: We fund education companies nationwide, providing up to $2,000,000 in funding, as well as co-investment and access to our Venture Fund.

Program benefits: Experience is the best teacher and testing your product with real users can be the difference between success and failure. At the Jefferson Education Accelerator, we help you connect with the right K-12 schools, colleges, and universities -- those that are not only eager to evaluate what you have developed, but have demonstrated the organizational capacity for thoughtful engagement.

The Jefferson Education Accelerator gives you a rigorous assessment of your solutions and strategy. We help identify weaknesses and opportunities. We can also match you with experts to help you iterate and improve.

Portfolio companies: Motimatic, KickUp

Boom Startup

"BoomStartup EdTech 2017 is a startup accelerator program, purpose built for education technology startups. Technology driven innovations are changing the face of education – making it more engaging, more personal, more relevant. Our companies will help drive and accelerate this disruption and transformation. Ideal candidates for this program will have innovative ideas that will help to lead this shift, and have the potential to make a large impact in the education community."


Investment amount: Companies can receive up-to $100K in seed funding by reaching the fifth level. BoomStartup receives 6-9% of equity across multiple investments based on achieving mutually agreed performance milestones.

Program benefits: Companies receive over $750K of in-kind services, ranging from $100K in AWS, Azure or IBM hosting credits to banking, legal and financial services. 

Mentor makeup: Dave Bargeron, Duane Call, Bruce Fryer, Helen Honisett, Steven Maranville

Portfolio companies: Cleverywhere, iFlipd, Ardusat


"The product adoption curve in education is extremely difficult to predict. Education markets are shaped by public policy such as academic standards, testing requirements, and charter school authorizations. Another problem facing entrepreneurs in education is that the market is highly fragmented. States and districts control many of the purchasing decisions for products. Dreamit has partnered with some of the most innovative and tech-forward K-12 schools and universities to create an unparalleled customer network where edtech founders can validate their assumptions, build traction and position startups to #Get2A."

Investment amount: Not specified

Mentor makeup: Katie Blot, Bart Epstein, Adam Fried, Thom Jackson, Burck Smith

Portfolio companies: PeopleGrove, LessonCast


"The accelerator emerged as a partnership initiative between the Michelson 20MM Foundation and Runway incubator. Ultimately, the goal is to serve as the bridge that connects institutions, innovators, and policymakers solving the most pressing issues in postsecondary and vocational education."

Investment amount: Select startups will receive a $25K-$150K equity investment via a SAFE note (an agreement popularized by Y Combinator) with up to an additional $150K investment in follow-on funding.

Program benefits: 

  • Over $400,000 in partnership benefits and perks from services like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, FounderSuite, Zipcar, and more;
  • Legal advisory services support from the program’s legal partner;
  • Up to four months of desk space for team members at Runway’s co-working space in downtown San Francisco;
  • Product feedback and guidance from best-in-class entrepreneurs, educators, researchers, and other experts;
  • Advice on best practices in user testing, customer acquisition, and product delivery for the postsecondary education landscape;
  • Access to a virtual entrepreneur community and our web-based presentations on topics like intellectual property, monetization, fundraising, and more.

Mentor makeup: Abigail Seldin, Andrew Trickett, Jessica Brondo Davidoff, Grant Taylor

Portfolio companies: Lrnr, Motimatic, Pragya, ReUp, WorkAmerica


"Emerge Education is a 3 month, London based accelerator programme for startups aiming to improve educational outcomes worldwide

The Programme is appropriate for edtech startups that span all stages of development: from functional prototypes to those with more significant traction seeking to expand into the UK market."

Investment amount: Initial Investment of £40k-£100k

Program benefits: We work with the most sought-after VCs and Angels in London, giving the accepted startups a seamless way of connecting to investors through regular office hours, demo events, and investor lunches. During the programme we will run office hours with angels and VCs, which then culminates in a demo day attended by representatives across from UK’s entire investment network.

3 x Desks at Edspace, UK’s hub for education innovation. Tenants include two fledgling school chains, educational charities as well as fast growing edtech startups. Located in Hackney Community College in central London.

Mentor makeup: Kate Shand, David Anderson, Percy Harrison, Jonnie Noakes

Portfolio companies: Datazar, Edval, Edacy, Unispottr, MakerClub


"The Incubator, Accelerator, and NY EDTECH WEEK are brought to you in collaboration with NYU Steinhardt"

Investment amount:  The Accelerator provides up to $170,000 in funding and mentorship

Program benefits: 

  • Unprecedented access to resources of New York University
  • Coaching, legal services, agile development expertise, sales consulting, business development and more

Mentor makeup: Jordan Goldman, Morgan Battle, Andy Kaplan, Owen Davis

Portfolio companies: Bering, EduKids, The TalkList, CredSpark, Thrively

(Image source:


Featured Stories


Other episodes of this series

Accelerators targeting digital health...


Startup Competition Guide

by Steven Loeb
They include Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, DigitalHealth.London and Launchpad Digital Health

Accelerators from top corporate companies


Startup Competition Guide

by Steven Loeb
They include accelerators from AT&T, Coca-Cola, Google, IBM, Disney, Sprint and Wells Fargo

Startup competitions seeking faith-based...


Startup Competition Guide

by Steven Loeb
They include The Biola Startup Competition and Tech for Good competition

Startup competitions seeking digital health...


Startup Competition Guide

by Steven Loeb
They include MedTech Innovator Competition and HealthTECH Startup Competition

Startup competitions from top healthcare...


Startup Competition Guide

by Steven Loeb
They include competitions from Humana, UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, Pfizer and UCSF