View: Are the Golden Years of Education Entrepreneurship Gone?

Mikel Amigot | IBL News

The push to launch start-ups is certainly over. In 2013, nearly 768 education companies were founded. Today that number has dropped below 125.

Within 18 months, from late 2011, we saw the launch of MOOC platforms Coursera, edX, Udacity and FutureLearn. In addition, in 2012, three more lifelong learning organizations were founded: Degreed, Minerva and Flatiron School.

After many tweaks, those companies finally found successful revenue models.

Looking today, something strange is happening. Creativity and entrepreneurial spirit haven’t decreased. But monetization is tougher, and investors do not have the patience they showed a decade ago.

Colleges and universities have mostly behaved as anti-innovation engines, mainly because of traditionalists within the faculty and administrators’ exclusive concern with revenue generation. Large corporations have concentrated on their core businesses, paying little attention to new forms of training and education. Non-profits and philanthropist-driven organizations have played it safe, too, promoting partnerships with traditional universities.

There is much to fix and new times will arrive. Higher ed institutions and businesses need to think differently in order to adequately respond to the new demands of lifelong learners.