LearnLaunch, McGraw-Hill Education team up to school edtech startups

An entrepreneur presents to teachers at a 2013 LearnLaunch event.
An entrepreneur presents to teachers at a 2013 LearnLaunch event.

Executives from McGraw-Hill Education will mentor local entrepreneurs as part of a partnership with Boston’s LearnLaunch ed-tech startup accelerator.

“Startups play an important role in the digital ecosystem, and as a ‘125-year-old startup’ ourselves, we feel a kinship with them,” Stephen Laster, chief digital officer of McGraw-Hill Education, said in a news release.

McGraw-Hill Education has funded LearnLaunch in the past, but this week’s announcement is a first public acknowledgement of the relationship.

“A lot of that is mentorship and advising and coaching, and hopefully that will lead to investing and acquiring as well,” said Asad Butt, operations director at the LearnLaunch Accelerator.

Jean Hammond, a co-founder of LearnLaunch, said one of the goals of the collaboration is to find and support international startups.

LearnLaunch offers a suite of services for entrepreneurs developing tech products for the education sector. The company chooses about half a dozen startups for its accelerator program every year, and provides seed funding and a four-month training program at its downtown co-working space.

Among the seven startups chosen for the 2015 accelerator class are Bab’l Books, a Boston startup that makes children’s books available in multiple languages by crowdsourcing translation, and Menlo, a web-based service that aims to help people craft compelling college applications.

The group introduced their technology to venture capitalists and angel investors at LearnLaunch’s Demo Day graduation event on Wednesday.

LearnLaunch also offers training and facilities to older startups that have already started selling a product. That program, called Breakthrough, was announced earlier this month.

Boston is the research and development hub for McGraw-Hill Education. The company opened an R&D office downtown in 2013, and announced that it would expand its staff to 105 employees and occupy 19,000 square feet by 2015, part of an estimated $175 million investment so far.

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about science and research. Email her at nidhi.subbaraman@globe.com.
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