The emerging opportunities in education technology is attracting a variety of entrepreneurs. But there is a selection of innovators who are bringing their own expertise in education. Here are profiles of six founders with big ideas (and big companies), who have their roots firmly in higher education technology.
Know any educators that have started an edtech company? Add their name to the list in the comments below.
John Katzman, 2Tor
John Katzman, founder of 2Tor, works with a selective group of institutions to deliver degree programs online, providing the partner program with $10 million in capital, global marketing, technology, instructional design and infrastructure. Prior to 2Tor, Katzman founded The Princeton Review and served as its CEO until 2007. Katzman is the co-author of five books on testing and admissions, and a frequent lecturer and panelist. He also serves on the Board of Advisors for the National Association of Independent Schools.
Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, Coursera
Coursera was created by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, both renowned professors in the Computer Science Department at Stanford. Coursera officially launched this month, offering free online courses from Princeton, Penn State, University of Michigan and Stanford. Courses cover the full spectrum of topics including math, computer science, humanities, economics and medicine. The Coursera software was developed by Stanford undergrad and graduate students.
Farb Nivi, Grockit
Farb Nivi is the founder and Chief Product Officer of Grockit. Grockit provides online test preperation services for GMAT, SAT, ACT, GRE, and other tests required for college admissions. Prior to Gorckit, Nivi was a teacher and a trainer for The Princeton Review, where he wrote curriculum and pedagogy and was honored with their Teacher of the Year Award. Nivi also advises the Kennedy Centers Millenium Stage and the World Peace Institute, working with youth artists and musicians.
Michael Staton, Inigral
Michael Staton created the Inigral Facebook app, which creates a private social network for schools, with the goal to improve enrollment and retention. Inigral allows new students to meet their future classmates, ask questions, share interests, and get familiar with the college experience. Prior to starting Inigral, Stanton was a secondary educator and curriculum designer and developed the idea for Inigral after he observed how popular Facebook was becoming with his students.
Matthew Pittinsky, Parchment
Matthew Pittinsky co-founded Blackboard in 2007. He now leads the team at Parchment as CEO. Parchment provides a software platform for users to easily request, store and share electronic academic transcripts. Between Blackboard and Parchament, Pittinksy was Assistant Professor of Sociology at Arizona State University. He remains a Research Assistant Professor at ASU today, with specializations in economic sociology, sociology of education, and social network analysis.
Sebastian Thrun, Udacity
Udacity was founded by three roboticists at Standford who believed much of the educational value of their university classes could be offered online. Founder Sebastian Thrun, taught an Introduction to Artificial Intelligence class at Standford and built the Udacity platform to make the course available to anyone in the world for free. The Udacity website has grown to now offer six computer science courses, including Web Application Engineering, Building a Search Engine and Programming Languages.