Edtech · Venture capital

Selling EdTech Software to Schools?

Nate Holbrook Founder / CEO at Lilac

November 13th, 2015

We see more Education startups working with schools but is selling to schools still a problem? Will VCs still fund, or are VCs less worried about it? How do I measure potential outcomes & success?

Rich Webster Wordpress Training & Development, Communications Consulting, Design and PHP/JS/HTML5/CSS3

November 13th, 2015

I'm curious about this as well. Our challenge with Art Docent Program is just the time it takes to make a sale, the variety of decision-making processes from school to school and district to district, and how to sufficiently commission sales to compensate for the long sale cycle.

Liza Taylor Communication Specialist at Keyideas Infotech

November 16th, 2015

Great question Nate. It is good if you can sell your IT solution to schools but creating a solution that take students away from hand-written homework or hand-sketches needs to be cautioned. There is a way of using technology in helping students. Exposure to virtual technologies at a tender age would seem incorrect. Students need to be encouraged to read books rather than reading online materials from the web. Education eccentric VCs would fund you as long as it's not affecting the students' creativity provided you have done a thorough study and it should be a constructive project for schools.  

Sidney Amster Member Investors Circle

November 14th, 2015

Solutions are not easy if the sales are dependent on a 1:1 with each school board hence there is a need to leverage through either 3rd party companies that have strong inroads in many school boards or try to position your sales where the funding is outside of the school board budget removing one of the objections (and an elongated sales cycle).  Many ed tech products are supported by state and / or federal programs.

Gopi Mattel General Partner. Lifeboat Ventures

November 13th, 2015

I am not sure about the edtech funding environment. But the challenges of selling into education sector is well known. ( maybe there is space for a solution to help school districts streamline their procurement).
Regarding sales compensation though, I can add a bit. In general long sales cycles implies a higher base pay to lower commissions ratio.
Some portion of sales incentives can be based on sales activity milestones such as RFP completion to keep some money flowing to the rep.
Draws or guarantees can help with the 6 to 9 months for the sales rep to come up to speed.
Some portion of the sales commission can also be capped and put in reserve, and then paid out in lighter months.