What’s Next for Education Startups

D'Arcy Coolican, Li Jin, and Frank Chen

Everyone expects schools at all levels — from pre-school to post-graduate universities — to change fundamentally as software turbocharges both students and teachers, enables new business models, and brings scale to an industry that often prides itself on its cottage-industry status (think about the debate over classroom sizes).

So in this a16z hallway conversation, consumer team partners D’Arcy Coolican and Li Jin chat with deal and research team operating partner Frank Chen about the future of education. How long will it take for a traditional 4-year undergraduate program to not be the main path for students? What should we make of Income Share Agreements (ISAs), where the school owns some of the risk if their curriculum and instructors don’t generate employable graduates? Given how hard it is to find a reputable, caring pre-school, what can we do to open up more qualified pre-schools? Beyond STEM courses, what other areas will are well suited for disruptive education?

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