Minnesota’s first EduTech showcase coming together


Minnesota EduTech 2011 Showcase and Forum As the global technology industry rapidly evolves and Minnesota’s own sector continues to grow, seeds are sprouting. Look at SaaS, Mobile and Health IT — to name a few.

If it wasn’t already, EduTech is now officially on the list of our hot pockets.

We recently witnessed the rise of Naiku and Capella backed GoKart Labs spinout Sophia — timely examples of the emerging opportunity here.    Both startups were then nominated for a Tekne Award in the first year category . Earlier in the year, Logix Learning and Flying Word Launched. Scantron even made an acquisition.

And it could be said that solving education-oriented problems matters and that there’s no place like home.

“Minnesota edutech cluster a $1b plus market, ” estimates Chad Johnson, Managing Director at Cherry Tree and sponsor of the Minnesota 2011 EduTech Showcase & Forum slated for October 5th at U of M’s McNamara Alumni Center.

Envisioned by roughly a half dozen and hosted by TiE Minnesota the collective aim is to ‘highlight the unique opportunities available when Education, Technology and Entrepreneurs work together.’

“Our committee identified more than 30 local  companies in this cluster, 12 of which will be show-cased at the event,” Johnson says.   A tentative list of all firms presenting  includes:

  1. Infinite Campus
  2. Atomic Learning
  3. iQpakk
  4. Sophia Learning
  5. Kidblog
  6. Capstone Digital
  7. Early Learning Labs
  8. Capella
  9. Naiku
  10. Read Naturally
  11. Flying Word
  12. 3Ring
  13. iSpace (NJ)

“We have many local firms with innovative educational technology products targeted for preschool, K-12, upper high and adult learning,” says STEM Ahead principal and event co-organizer Cheryl Moeller.   “I’m excited to be part of  bringing together educational technology entrepreneurs, investors and educators to highlight our our strengths here in Minnesota.”

Entrepreneur and iQPakk inventor Bjorn Stansvik is equally optimistic about the outcome of the inaugural event:

“It’s tough to say exactly how many will turn out and what their interests are — entrepreneurship, collaborating, investing, selling, teaching — but what’s important is that we’re taking a big step in getting a lot of the right people in a room together for the first time.”

The all day affair will feature a keynote speaker Dr. Tom Jandris, a national education leader and serial entrepreneur, as well as a U of M Alum and panel/attendee discussion including: Kauffman Education Labs, Corporate Executives, Farmington Supt. Dr. Haugen, Technology Directors, Classroom Teachers, entrepreneurs Rajiv Tandon, Don Smithmeier and Steve Johnson.

Tickets range in price from $25 – $125 and sponsorship is currently available — with Capella, Cherry Tree, U of M College of Education & Human Development, iSpace and EMC Publishing already listed.