Live from New York – Blogging Today at SIAA Ed Tech Business Forum (2008)

First published December 2, 2008

On the day following the announcement that the United States has officially been in recession for  a year, more than 250 leaders in the educational technology industry are meeting today to discuss “Financing Growth” in educational technology with members of the venture capital and private equity communities at the annual SIIA Ed Tech Business Forum in New York.

Although there is plenty of supporting detail in the presentations as they unfold, the high level summary is about what you'd expect in this not-quite-dismal but certainly cautious economic climate. In fact, a new particularly apt descriptive term  being used to describe current buyers and sellers is "Turtle Heads."

A recurring refrain throughout the presentations is the strategic importance of maintaining focus on keeping the business core fundamentals strong. Even during this volatile time, cautious investors are still looking at strong companies. But companies must be laser-focused on profitability.

Good companies (as they always do) will help their customers protect their income streams. So, for districts, this means maintaining enrollments. Kevin Custer of ARC Capital said that this means, "Successful companies will work actively with districts on managing their decreasing budgets. Help superintendents by understanding the realities of their world and help them:

  • Keep more students in school
  • Protect the district income stream
  • Save them money
  • Show how your company/product will increase student performance.

Stay tuned for more insights into the current investment strategies in educational technology.

P.S. Fellow bloggers today include Lee Wilson and Ken Royal.


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