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Friday
Apr062012

Disrupting Education

It's been exactly a month since the LAUNCH Festival and I've finally recovered.

These events literally take the life out of you, and I mean that in the best of ways. It reminds me of the feeling after I used to run the New York City Marathon: a combination of depression that the magic was over and never-ending flashbacks of the exhilaration of the mission being completed. I'm guessing some moms out there can relate :)

It turns out that not only did we close well over $1M in investing on stage, but I've found out since that over $500k in additional commitments were made. So, when the final tally is done, the event will have resulted in about $2M for the startups that were present.

Five years of LAUNCHing great startups from Dropbox to Mint to Yammer and now Space Monkey and Alltuition (among many others). You can watch the LAUNCH 2012 awards ceremony here.

In between our yearly event we plan to host some smaller one- and two-day vertical events. I've been pushing my own startup Mahalo.com hard into education after being inspired by folks like Khan Academy and, of course, Steve Jobs and Apple.

Education is one of three verticals we believe is going to be radically disrupted over the next five years.

So, on June 12th and 13th we're hosting LAUNCH Education & Kids.

The format is similar to LAUNCH in that we'll have 25 startups share what they're building. Some of it will be new stuff, some will be already launched but still awesome.

The key extension of the LAUNCH presentation format that folks love so much is that after showing their products for three minutes (no slideware!), founders will share their biggest insight for three minutes.

The goal of the event is to not just to show awesome products, but to learn what's working and what's not. This worked really well at the LAUNCH tablet event we hosted last year, and I think this is the format people want. I know this because it's what I want in a presentation format:

1. show me cool stuff
2. teach me something
3. answer my questions

If you do that 25 times in two days, we'll all get really, really smart as a group.

We're going to invite equal parts founders, press, investors and educators to the event, which will be hosted at Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View. If you want a ticket please apply here. Tickets are free for 75% of the audience (founders, press and educators). If you're anyone else, we'll ask you to support the event.

I'm doing the Stewart Alsop/DEMO & Ricky Wurman/TED thing: apply to the event and we'll reply back if we think you should be there. Slightly obnoxious, I know, but we really want to make sure that everyone in the room adds some value.  

MOST IMPORTANTLY: If you know a teacher or educator who would benefit from being at the event, hit reply and intro me to them. I really want actual educators at the event to give feedback -- and even call BS when needed -- on the startups presenting.

This event isn't going to make any money for LAUNCH. We're doing it because I personally want to learn as much as I can about the space and give back to the community. That being said, if you want to support the event, we would love to have your company buy breakfast, lunch or dinner for the attendees [ email partners@launch.is ].

We've started a public spreadsheet of about 200 startups we've identified as innovating in the educational and kids space here

To add companies to that list, of if you have any questions, email edu@launch.co.

We'll have a website for the event up soon, for now here's a blog post with the basic details.
 
I'm going to try to write something insightful for three days in a row starting this weekend. However, I'm not sure what topics I should cover. Anyone have any questions/issues they would like me to address? Email jason@calacanis.com and tell me.  

all the best, Jason