Program to invest in promising ed-tech startups with advisory board of leading education and technology innovators
AT&T today launched the AT&T Aspire Accelerator for ed-tech ventures throughout the nation, as part of AT&T’s $350 million commitment to education. This search for game-changing solutions to real-world education problems begins with a call for applications opening today. The Aspire Accelerator will select for- and non-profit companies to support with a customized program that includes financial investment, access to expert services and mentorship.
Unlike most other accelerators, the primary measure of success for the Aspire Accelerator is societal impact rather than monetary return. Participants will be selected based on their ability to drive students’ educational or career success. Special consideration will be given to solutions for students who are at-risk of dropping out of school.
“Technology is changing how teachers manage their classrooms, how students digest information, and how parents and administrators communicate,” said Charlene Lake, Chief Sustainability Officer, AT&T. “The AT&T Aspire Accelerator is designed to support and scale ed-tech ideas that make brighter futures — ideas from for-profits and non-profits that want to make a difference.”
Leading education and technology innovators will participate in the Aspire Accelerator as part of the program’s external board of advisors including:
- Charles Best, Founder and CEO, DonorsChoose.org
- Betsy Corcoran, Co-founder and CEO, EdSurge
- Ben Jealous, Partner, Kapor Center for Social Impact
- Daniel Lurie, Founder and CEO, Tipping Point Community
- Ramona Pierson, Co-founder and CEO, Declara
- Sebastian Thrun, Founder and CEO, Udacity
“The startup community is in a unique position to have a positive social impact on the education of our youth,” commented Ben Jealous, Partner at Kapor Center for Social Impact. “The Aspire Accelerator’s innovative model could lead to new ideas that help to level the playing field for students everywhere. I’m honored to be a part of the Advisory Board and look forward to seeing the results.”
The key elements of the Aspire Accelerator’s customized six-month program include:
- Aspire Investment – $50,000 AT&T Aspire investment and an additional $25,000 to cover costs associated with the program for each organization. For non-profit companies, the Aspire investment will be in the form of a general contribution in exchange for participating in the Aspire Accelerator and meeting certain requirements, including submitting impact measurements.
- Mentorship – Access to AT&T and external mentors from the education and technology ecosystems.
- National Platform – Inclusion in the broader AT&T Aspire initiative, which is committed to driving innovation in education on a national scale.
- Flexible Location – Unlike other accelerators, organizations do not have to relocate to participate in the Aspire Accelerator.
The Aspire Accelerator is open to any type of organization working on a product or service that uses technology to support students’ educational and workforce success. Potential areas of focus include, but are not limited to: mobile applications that drive education outcomes; platforms for teachers, students and/or parents; learning and curriculum management tools; assessment and outcome tracking platforms; education distribution (online instruction, courses, etc.); and increased access for existing best practices.
The Aspire Accelerator application will be open thru February 20, and the program will begin with selected ventures in May 2015.
This contribution builds on AT&T’s investment in ed-tech through its $350 million signature education initiative, AT&T Aspire. From launching nanodegrees with the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) leader Udacity, to committing to provide $100 million of free mobile broadband Internet access to select middle and high school students in Title 1 schools across the country as part of the White House ConnectED initiative, the company is using its expertise in technology to transform learning and open a new world of opportunities to students everywhere.
About Philanthropy and Social Innovation at AT&T
AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. In 2013, more than $130 million was contributed or directed through corporate-, employee-, social investment- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature education initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring.
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