Cengage Learning wants to play a more active role in Boston’s budding ed-tech community; proof of that surfaced Friday when the educational content, software and services company announced a partnership with LearnLaunch.
“We are excited to engage more closely and more directly with the Boston-based ed-tech community,” said Cengage CEO Michael Hansen in an email to BostInno. “Cengage Learning is entrepreneurial in culture, open to emerging innovations and welcoming to, and supportive of, ed-tech entrepreneurs.”
Cengage has made an undisclosed investment in the LearnLaunch Accelerator, which has invested in 13 ed-tech startups to date. Companies accepted in to the program are offered dedicated desk space, discounted services, mentorship and $18,000 in seed funding. In turn, LearnLaunch takes a six percent equity stake in each venture.
Through Cengage’s investment, the company will work to foster ed-tech activity locally — but there’s more to the partnership than financing. Cengage’s primary role will be to mentor entrepreneurs, as well as start hosting events and encourage “cross-collaboration with emerging ed-tech innovators here in Boston,” according to Hansen.
“We aspire to engage and motivate students to achieve their individual potential and goals, and we can’t do that in a vacuum,” Hansen added. “Partnerships are key.”
In September, Cengage announced a partnership with Boston-based Flashnotes. Cengage integrated the startup into the company’s immersive learning platform MindTap, giving its users access to Flashnotes’ course-specific, student-generated study materials, which include study guides, notes, flashcards, video tutorials and live video help. With that, Cengage led Flashnotes’ Series B through a multi-million dollar investment in the company.
Cengage also announced a partnership Wednesday with nonprofit Student Voice to provide college-aged students with the opportunity to engage in conversations about classroom challenges with education influencers. Under the terms of the agreement, Cengage will be hosting three Student Voice Live! workshops this spring to make that conversation easier to have and in an open setting.
Cengage has since become the platinum sponsor for the LearnLaunch Annual Conference, taking place January 23 and 24 at Harvard Business School. Cengage’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer George Moore will be speaking at the event.
“Cengage Learning’s leadership in education and technology makes them an incredible partner for our startup community,” shared LearnLaunch Partner Hakan Satiroglu in a statement.
Cengage is expected to be more visible in Boston, as it continues partnering with various ed-tech startups. The company’s goal is to “change the future of education,” noted Hansen. To do that, however, Cengage needs to transform itself, and is relying on startups to help achieve that.
“Just like education, Cengage Learning is going through a major cultural transformation to enable cutting-edge digital innovations for teaching and learning with a renewed focus on the student,” Hansen said. “Through partnerships with startups and exposure to new ideas, we are learning every day about new ways to innovate and be more dynamic in order to make a greater impact in the lives of students.”
Image via Cengage Learning