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31 Jan - 03 Feb 2023

The startups disrupting the world of educationRISE Spotlight: Harness the Power of Digital Learning

The pandemic has flung open the doors to a rapid edtech evolution, and with that the emergence of companies offering exciting new innovations. In January’s Startup Nation session, Mercedes Bent, a Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, shared her top tech-to-watch with moderator Már Másson Maack, editor of Growth Quarters at TNW. Here are the start-ups that she selected – including three that are in Lightspeed’s portfolio.

Watch the full session here


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Out School

A live digital marketplace for K-12 learners that aims to prevent engagement from falling off around fourth or fifth grade. Out School offers non-traditional learning experiences such as maths with Taylor Swift or science with Minecraft. Mercedes sees innovations like this as a way for brands and businesses to become an integral part of education.


A sales training platform that supports learners wanting to get into a sales development role. Flockjay looks to bolster sales talent by providing all the specific skills required to land a dream sales job. Accessibility is improved by giving students a choice of financing options, with many not paying a penny until they have successfully found the job they want. Employer feedback has been positive, with some finding that the hires from Flockjay are among their best sales candidates.

Guild Education

Working with universities and employers to train blue-collar frontline teams, Guild Education offers a way to work towards a degree while remaining in employment – and provides an efficient way for universities and companies to connect. The scheme provides a more inclusive route to higher education as it caters for students who cannot afford full-time study.

Career Karma

A search tool for discovering the ideal adult education course. Users can select from a wide range of education options including colleges, bootcamps and alternative learning providers. They can compare how courses stack up against each other, build a bespoke learning path and discover alternative education and financing routes.

The next part of Startup Nation handed the floor over to two new companies, allowing them to share a three-minute elevator pitch with the audience.

Tom Brunskill, CEO and co-founder of Forage, explained how his company’s goal is to give all students the means to advance their careers for free. Forage works with global business giants (such as Goldman Sachs, JPM, Deloitte, GE, BCG) to create virtual training courses where students can build skills and confidence through work simulations. With over 1 million students and 75 companies on the platform, Tom is passionate about helping students find their dream careers at great companies.

Deborah Burton, Vice President of Strategic Alliances for Instruqt, explained how the company’s platform helps IT professionals to build their tech skills by learning through doing. With time scarce for on-the-job learning, Instruqt uses micro-learning techniques and offers an interactive, hands-on learning experience with technology and infrastructure that mirrors learners’ own work environment.