Empowering EdTech Entrepreneurs

Together we are designing the future of education with a a thriving Startup-Ecosystem for innvoative solutions to Education Technology.

An initiative of:
Funded by:

EdTech Next

Our mission

With the initiative EdTect Next – funded by the Ministry of Economics, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy, State of North Rhine-Westphalia – Founders Foundation and EDUvation are supporting founders to set up technological Startups in the education market and to develop a hotbed for sustainable innovations, bringing pioneers and doers together through a thriving and internationally connected ecosystem of EdTech innovation out of Bielefeld. Together, we are working towards developing the educational landscape into a success factor for Germany as a sustainable and internationally competitive business destination.

Current challenges and future solutions

Technological and social changes, above all digital transformation pose immense challenges to the current education market, – both in the public as well as the private sector – not only regarding the manner in the transfer and acquisition of knowledge in the the education system, but also in terms of employee training and development in companies. The change is strongly driven by the needs of the new user for digital teaching and learning solutions, which was clearly brought to light by the pandemic. Cross-industry technological trends such as artificial intelligence, Big Data analytics, blockchain, cloud applications, cyber security, software platforms and VR/AR show just how diverse the chances at innovation can be.

In this dynamic, visionary founders and Startups, with their unconventional approaches and rapid developments in innovative technologies, products and new business models play a decisive role in the digital transformation of education. Founders must be supported and integrated into a living ecosystem to accomplish a hotbed for sustainable and successful innovations. To this end, the Founders Foundation – with its expertise in building early-stage Startups and ecosystems – is developing targeted Startup programs and formats through EdTech Next and is building a vibrant, sustainable and internationally interconnected education technology ecosystem together with EDUvation, as a founding member of the European EdTech Alliance and an expert in the education field. This should enable all key players in the education sector to be closely connected with eachother, exchange their knowledge and ideas and also develop new approaches together.

The education market as a growth market
The potential for technological developments such as software solutions or tools and also services that support learning or teaching is massive. Even if the market for Education Technology (EdTech) is developing dynamically internationally, there is a dire need for Germany to catch up: The current lack of financing and training opportunities is explicitly inhibiting not only the growth of German Startups in the education sector, but also the competitiveness of the German economy. In terms of the current volume of investment, the education market falls sharply behind: So far, only 1% of growth capital in Germany has been invested in EdTech Startups. Before the pandemic began, there were 92 EdTech Startups in Germany, only 13 of them in NRW. In international comparison, despite positive developments, Germany lags behind ecosystems such as London, which is considered to be the stronghold of European EdTech with around 520 Startups. The EdTech Next initiative contributes to bridge this gap by promoting the development and interconnectedness of innovative solutions, new business models and products for the public education sector and the private economy.

EDUvation & Founders Foundation

The perfect

With EdTech Next, the consortium partners EDUvation and Founders Foundation combine their expertise and their network in the development of successful Startups and ecosystems with the aim to systematically support Startup foundations and innovations in the education market and to create a thriving ecosystem in which pioneers and future-shapers within the international EdTech industry, come together. In this way, digital education will be designed as an elementary success factor for the future competitiveness of Germany, sustainably strengthened from NRW – NRW is becoming Germany’s EdTech hub. The two consortium partners are driving this project in close cooperation together with Startup spirit and know-how, a large network and a deep understanding of education, technology and inception. The joint initiative with its starting date in April 2022 is being funded by the Ministry of Economics, Innovation, Digitization and Energy of the State of North Rhine- Westphalia (MWIDE) in the amount of 3 million euros over a period of 3 years.

Since its inception, the Founders Foundation in Germany has developed a unique training program for entrepreneurial talents and the development of early-stage Startups and ecosystems – initially with a focus on B2B and industrial business models: So far, – depending on the maturity level of their idea – more than 500 founding talents have had a run through the modular Start-up formats with the use of a specially designed education model. Thus, they were systematically prepared for the next steps of their next Start-up. In this way, more than 60 Startup-inceptions were supported, all of whom have now collected over 45 million euros in venture capital investment. The Ostwestfalen- Lippe region has grown from a Startup-desert to a vibrant Startup-ecosystem and already has over 120 Startups today. The Founders Foundation is now using this expertise purposefully to promote early-stage Startups in the education market.

EDUvation is Germany’s largest EdTech Startup community and the only EdTech-focused service provider for founders. It supports young educational companies with a fruitful EdTech landscape consisting of Startups, experts, established companies and tech corporations. Even before the pandemic, it had set up Startup areas at all national and international educational events, such as didacta, LEARNTEC, Frankfurt Book Fair, BETT Show and London EdTech Week. The international commitment and the pan-European cooperation resulted in the founding of the European EdTech Alliance, together with numerous European players, in Bielefeld in 2021.

Our offers

Next Generation EdTech

EdTech N E T Startup Programme

As a pioneer in the development of early-stage Startups and ecosystems, the Founders Foundation supports prospective founders in the education market with the EdTech Next Startup programs in implementing their ideas. The focus of these programs and formats are inspiration, networking, co- founder matching and business incubation.

The talented entrepreneurs benefit from the international mentor network of experienced entrepreneurs and a multidisciplinary team. The Founders Foundation Home in the heart of Bielefeld’s old town serves as a lively meeting point and central place-to-go for the EdTech start-up scene.

EdTech N E T Summit

At the EdTech Next Summit from September 12 to 13, thought leaders and makers from Europe in the field of education technology will come together in Bielefeld.

The event offers an inspiring platform for networking between players in the EdTech scene and exchanging views on the latest trends and developments in the industry.

What we stand for

Our conviction

Future-oriented education as success factor for Germany as a location of business

A mindset change in the German educational landscape
When it comes to education, we need a mindset change by recognising technological developments and advanced digitization as an entrepreneurial opportunity to find international collaboration and once again become a pioneer and exporter of excellently trained talent.
An innovation ecosystem as a hotbed for entrepreneurship
With EdTech Next, the Founders Foundation and EDUvation are bringing the pioneers and doers of the education market together by establishing a hotbed for sustainable EdTech Startups out of Bielefeld through a lively and internationally interconnected innovation ecosystem.
Development of early-stage EdTech Startups as innovation drivers
As a pioneer in building early-stage-Startups, the Founders Foundation uses its expertise and track record as a talent factory as well as its high-quality network to train entrepreneurial talent and support them in the inception of EdTech Startups.
Digital transformation of future tasks through upskilling
For future economic success, established companies must train their employees with intelligent solutions for future tasks to futher advance and shape digital transformation.