Published on Medium by GSV Ventures
Coursera, Duolingo, Replit, and BYJU’S all started with one thing, a disruptive idea. These Digital Learning and Workforce Skills companies demonstrate how disruptive ideas can truly change lives.
Education is entering a ‘Brave New World’ and you can’t use an old map in a new world. No longer can we rely on traditional tools and methods to ensure that all people reach their full potential. It is imperative that the next generation of innovators and leaders bring forward new, disruptive ideas that will shape the future of education and skilling.
To support and increase exposure for the next generation of early stage companies in the Digital Learning and Workforce Skills sector, we created the GSV Cup, a pitch competition for pre-seed and seed stage startups in digital learning from Pre-K to Gray.
EdTech startups from around the world apply for the chance to be recognized as one of the world’s 200 most innovative startups, the “Elite 200”, and compete to win up to $1M in cash and prizes at the ASU+GSV Summit.
We are proud to announce 2023’s Elite 200 — the most promising pre-seed and seed-stage startups in EdTech globally. These 200 companies were selected from over 900 applicants, making this year’s Cup the most competitive yet. More than 200 judges from global venture capital firms and strategics like Accel, Bessemer, NEA, Reach Capital, and Owl Ventures reviewed the Elite 200. The judges used GSV’s internal “Five P’s” framework (People, Product, Potential, Predictability, and Purpose) to evaluate the companies.
Meet the GSV Cup Elite 200.
This year’s Elite 200 cohort demonstrates the incredible diversity of our sector. 52% of the companies have a female founder, and 48% have a founder of color. This year’s cohort is well-represented by regions far and wide, with 40% of the Elite 200 companies headquartered outside of the US and Canada, reflecting the continued globalization of education.
Several trends have emerged among this year’s Elite 200, such as the use of AI technology to accelerate and personalize learning or the rise of community-based, social learning as a means to drive outcomes. These companies serve learners across the entire learning lifecycle, from Pre-K to Gray, with companies falling into five main categories: Early Childhood, K-12, Higher Education, Adult Consumer Learning, and Adult Enterprise Learning.
The Elite 200 is an acclaimed list of companies with the potential to become scaled players in the Education Technology and Workforce Skills sector. Previous winners, like LingoAce, Ethena, Collective, Tango, Transfr, and Fiveable, have gone on to raise successful rounds of funding and achieve meaningful impact. The path for a startup from early stage to scale is challenging and non-linear — but GSV Ventures recognizes and supports the innovative companies working to ensure that ALL people have equal access to the future.
“Fundraising is a momentum game for sure and we got huge momentum from the GSV Cup Win… Being able to come back from that whirlwind week [the ASU+GSV Summit] and say… we just won 250K in this big competition, it really gave us a lot of momentum and credibility. I definitely credit that experience with helping the round come together the way it did,” said Ope Bukola, Founder and CEO of Kibo School, which won the top prize in the 2022 GSV Cup.
The GSV Cup is powered by Google Cloud, HolonIQ, HubSpot for Startups, ASU RealmSpark, and GSV Ventures. Learn more details on the GSV Cup semi-finalists, the Elite 200, here. The finalists will be determined by a live audience vote at the 2023 ASU+GSV Summit. Register today to watch the competition live in San Diego on April 17–19th here.