Published on March 21st, 2013 | by Pattie Kettle1
Imagine Being an Entrepreneur
With the Imagine K12 program, it really isn’t hard to do – especially when you have a great idea which combines education and technology.
There is a pressing need for education tools which combine solid learning skills with user-friendly technology. Imagine K12 recognized this and came up with a supportive program to support and foster companies which create products that help students, parents, and teachers improve educational outcomes.
Located in Palo Alto, CA, Imagine K12 is a 3.5 month program for hackers, entrepreneurs, world citizens, and founders intent on changing the educational world. Right now, the market for excellent educational technology is enormous. Opportunity and need have never been greater. With the Imagine K12 program, there is an ever-increasing cadre of companies flourishing and shaking up edtech as we currently know it.
Imagine K12 Accelerator
The Imagine K12 programs run two times a year for 3.5 month cycles – in the summer and winter. During that time, approximately 10 companies come together in Palo Alto, CA and work together to get their businesses started. By providing a small amount of initial seed funding – $14K to $20K depending on the number of founders to pay expenses during the program, Imagine K12 then asks for a small piece of the company (usually 6%) in return. When the program finishes, a ‘demo day’ is hosted in which companies makes a pitch to an auditorium full of early stage investors.
The idea is that the program will help founders take an idea from early stage to the point of being investable by seed investors (‘angels’) or traditional venture capitalists. The 3.5 month cycle is meant to be immersive and intense – founders are required to be in the SF Bay area during that time and are responsible for finding their own space to work – although there is a common area for meetings and events. During the program, founders are introduced to educational experts, venture capitalists, angel investors, and Silicon Valley luminaries who will inspire, motivate and challenge you to crystalize your ideas and create a compelling product and company.
In tandem with the Imagine K12 project itself, there is a parallel Teacher in Residence Program. That way, products are tested in the real-world educational environment. Each cohort will have between 1-3 Teachers in Residence (TIRs). Working with the teachers provides insights into the workings of the US educational system and is an insightful way to vet ideas and determine company direction.