The education industry is without a doubt slow to adapt to changing conditions and in particular adapting to new technology. It takes a very convincing argument to get educational institutions to take on new ideas and pay out for new technology. Generally, education staff and even students are often expected to provide their own technology rather than expect their employer or education provider to pay out and provide much needed equipment that may help learners progress into the modern world.
The sorts of problems small or even larger EdTech startup businesses have promoting innovative educational technology to the education industry is due to education providers.
being slow to respond to new technology
not having the time to evaluate new applications
not having the money to spend on costly applications
failing to see any value in providing short-cuts through the use of technology
feeling concerned that staffing levels are affected by new technology as it sometimes is a substitute for human input
not being exposed or educated about branded education technology startup products.
Ivan Klymenko, a partnership manager at Unplag (EdTech startup), says, “Basically, business startups in the education technology industry have to find the right ways of marketing their products so that the education industry sees the value of the products in improving educational outcomes and is willing to adopt new technology. In general, though, edu tech startups do have to jump more hurdles than startups oriented for business markets.”
One of the major hurdles is that there is a lot of competition in the tech sector with many people choosing technology as their choice to startup a business. This is mainly because a successful educational tech business stands to receive great rewards and can attract investors who through helping to expand a business can expect to increase profits even further.
Challenges for educational tech startups
1) Constant fluctuations in the tech industry
Technology is constantly on the move and once one product or service is out on the market another is on its way. This means any tech startup has to move quickly to capture the market before a competitor is on his or her heels with a product or service which just that much better. Before you take the risk of investing and placing your product on the open market you should get some feedback from friends or relatives to see if you have something that is really marketable that will beat any likely competitors. Otherwise you stand to lose your investment with no come back.
2) Difficulties in reaching business goals
If you have found that your startup cannot reach its goal and you are unable to find a suitable solution admit failure rather than struggling to attain the impossible. You can try again, but maybe with a different business plan. Some startups do have several goes and many eventually start to realize a profit, but don’t drift along trying to make something work when it typically can’t.
3) Partnerships don’t always work with tech startups
Partnering with another business that is offering a similar product may seem inviting, but with a tech startup you may be biting off more than you can chew. Technology is an ever changing industry and the products are always being updated so partnering could be double trouble if the product being produced soon becomes obsolete because another more advanced one has been created.
If you are thinking of setting up a partnership choose a company that has built up a good name for itself and follows a clear path if a product is about to be superseded by a newer version.
4) Hiring staff for a tech startup
One would not have thought with so much competition for tech jobs that the tech startup would be able to calculate the cost for staffing. However, it seems that it doesn’t handle staffing matters very well and in the beginning takes on too many staff, therefore wasting money. Selecting the best talent is often done first, but this can be an expensive mistake if a person is overqualified for the job.
One of the best approaches to staff is to offer them a certain amount of freedom and independence to work on your project. This is good for staff relations and the sense of responsibility tends to keep staff rather than losing them to a bigger company.
5) Cyber risks
Businesses come in all shapes and forms, but one thing they often do have in common is their web presence. Even grocery stores these days offer online shopping and deliveries so goods are usually paid for online before they are delivered. Tech startups are typically more vulnerable than brick and mortar high street stores which divide sales between customers who walk in the store and those who browse and pay online.
Tech startups are often providing products that help businesses to do business like web page design requires that the computers used are well protected from the invasion of dangerous viruses and that any dealings with customers credit cards always takes place through a secure internet connection. You could even go as far as taking out insurance to, cover you for any breaches of cyber security.
6) The communication gap
Educational tech startup companies need to communicate much more with those at the front end of education: teachers and lecturers in schools and colleges. The tendency is for those in startups to think back to when they were students and the problems that their teachers had rather than actually find out what is going on right now and take into consideration the changes that have been going on.
Developers also need to take into account the differences between cultural identity, geographical location and state standards. These differences often make it difficult to design products based on a single experience.
While educational tech startups are extremely popular and competition is stiff, for one startup to get the lion’s share of the market dedication is the key to success and solving teething problems early helps to keep the business alive and kicking.
Bio: Leona Hinton is a young writer, blogger and educator from Chicago. She loves traveling, reading classic literature and horseback riding. Leona will be happy to meet you on Twitter!