A recent story in the Los Angeles Times looks at the hope among entrepreneurs in Southern California that their region—powered in part by its reservoir of talent in the entertainment and animation fields—can emerge as hub for the ed-tech industry.
But Angelenos are hardly the only ones harboring that vision for their metro areas.
We recently wrote about efforts by business and civic leaders in Boston, Baltimore, and other cities to mold themselves into attractive home bases for established education companies and startups, alike.
Those two cities have touted their viability as ed-tech hubs based on a variety of factors, including having an already-established base of companies with an interest in K-12 education and in technology. They’ve also advertised their networks for mentoring and advising fledgling ed-tech businesses.
L.A. officials are convinced they have the goods to entice K-12 digital entrepreneurs, and to help them succeed.
“If you look at what some of the best educational technology does, it integrates things that appeal to students—things like gamification, video games, and compelling narratives,” Sean Arian, a vice president at the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce, told the newspaper. “When you think about those things, L.A. does them better than anything else.”
School districts spend billions of dollars each year on various digital tools and systems. And investors are looking for companies that can crack the market. The amount of venture capital flowing into K-12 education technology companies rose to $642 million in 2014, jumping 32 percent over the previous year, by one recent estimate.
It follows that one way of judging the size and strengths of various ed-tech hubs is by looking at which cities and regions are drawing the most investment. The market research company CB Insights last year offered a geographic breakdown of where the companies receiving the most venture capital are headquartered:
Not surprisingly, Silicon Valley and the New York metro region hover near the top, with Massachusetts also faring well. Also worth noting: Much of the capital is flowing to ed-tech companies based abroad.
One region that I was surprised isn’t receiving a bigger slice of ed-tech investment: Texas.
Having attended a bunch of ed-tech summits over the past few years, and having received dozens of business cards from companies touting one product or another, I often found myself asking: “Is everyone in this industry based in Austin?”