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UK edtech start-ups miss out on place in Pearson accelerator

Nine firms were selected from the US, Canada, Israel and Australia

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Education giant Pearson has announced nine start-up companies that it wants to grow and collaborate with through its global accelerator programme, but none of them are from the UK. 

Instead, the companies hail from the United States, Canada, Israel and Australia. 

Catalyst, Pearson's virtual education accelerator programme, is designed to help scale start-ups by giving them access to Pearson's resources and subject-matter experts. At the same time, Pearson is looking to solve some of its own business challenges by gaining access to innovative technology and fresh talent. 

Pearson said over 215 applicants from more than 30 countries applied to participate in the programme. Of the 215 applications, 22 (roughly 10 percent) came from the UK but not one UK start-up has been selected for the Catalyst programme. 

However, there is one more spot to fill for this year's programme.

Diana Stepner, VP of innovation partnerships and developer relations at Pearson, said: “Following a strong first year, we were very impressed by the quality of applications to the Pearson Catalyst for Education 2014 accelerator class."

“We believe that by partnering with the start-up community, together, we can more quickly tackle true educational challenges and make a real impact in learners’ lives. It’s exciting to connect Pearson teams with innovative startups that share our passion for making a difference in education."

One start-up to be selected for this year's programme is US-based ForAllRubrics, which has a platform that reveals class learning outcomes to teachers and students. 

Co-founders Karen Jeffrey and Toby Kavukattu said: Pearson can help improve our product, and also provide mentorship on how to grow our company and play on an international stage." 

Last year’s start-ups addressed challenges such as new services for higher education students and mobile applications for test preparation. Out of the five start-ups in the inaugural year, two have gone on to become official Pearson Technology Partners: ClassOwl and Ace Learning Company.

None of the start-ups selected for last year's programme were from the UK either.  


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