McGraw-Hill Collaborates with University of Pennsylvania to Invest in Education Technology Startup Incubator

Published October 30, 2013

By Communications Team

Company to offer capital and counsel to edtech startups via newly created Education Design Studio Inc., initiative builds on company's growing technology investments

NEW YORK, Oct. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- McGraw-Hill today announced an investment in the Education Design Studio, Inc. (EDSi), a $2.1 million hybrid incubator and seed fund that was launched in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) and designed specifically to nurture, support and increase the success rate of early-stage education startups and related business ventures. As part of its investment, McGraw-Hill will offer four to six startups in year one financial capital, consultation and valuable insight into current market demands. These startups were previously selected as finalists in the Milken Family Foundation and Penn GSE-sponsored business plan competition.

This partnership aligns with McGraw-Hill's philosophy that startups encourage innovation and competition in the industry and help push the business of education forward. Over the course of six years, McGraw-Hill – which will now have access to early-stage companies doing innovative work in education technology – will provide funding, continuous mentorship and strategic counsel to these startups in the EDSi ecosystem.

"As a '125-year-old startup' with a deep understanding of the education market, we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with EDSi and the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania and invest our time and resources in high-quality startup talent," said Stephen Laster, chief digital officer of McGraw-Hill. "This partnership presents a unique opportunity to combine the experience of our extensive in-house network of digital content developers with one of the leading and most entrepreneurial education schools in the country."

Led by chief executive officer Brien Walton, EDSi provides a six-month long program aiming to bridge educational technology, best practices in business management and education research across a dynamic and high-powered ecosystem. Each month, participants in EDSi's immersive program will engage in a weeklong intensive training session and then collaborate online for the remaining three weeks, via EDSi's custom learning management system. Entrepreneurs receive extensive financial, legal, marketing and technology advice from Penn GSE's faculty and investors like McGraw-Hill.

"We are thrilled that McGraw-Hill – an established leader in the development of top-notch digital learning solutions – is offering its time and resources through this one-of-a-kind collaboration," said Dr. Bobbi Kurshan, executive director of Academic Innovation at the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania. "Creating an ecosystem in which startups can thrive is paramount to their short- and long-term success, and we are grateful to companies like McGraw-Hill for embracing this new paradigm and for bringing such seasoned professionals and expertise to this program."

In the last year, McGraw-Hill has invested $130 million in digital research and development to strengthen its offerings and improve teaching and learning. Through the company's most recent acquisitions of ALEKS and Key Curriculum, an equity stake in Area9, as well as a partnership with Israel-based Time To Know, the company is working to grow and further develop the type of engaging, personalized experiences that are a central element in the future of education.

More information about this collaboration can be found here.

About McGraw-Hill

McGraw-Hill is a digital learning company that draws on its more than 100 years of educational expertise to offer solutions that improve learning outcomes around the world. McGraw-Hill is the adaptive education technology leader with the vision for creating a highly personalized learning experience that prepares students of all ages for the world that awaits. The Company has offices across North America, India, China, Europe, the Middle East and South America, and makes its learning solutions available in more than 60 languages. For additional information, visit

About Penn GSE

Penn GSE is one of the nation's premier research education schools. No other education school enjoys a university environment as supportive of practical knowledge building as the Ivy League's University of Pennsylvania. The School is notably entrepreneurial, launching innovative degree programs for practicing professionals and unique partnerships with local educators, and the first-ever business plan competition devoted exclusively to educational products and programs. For further information about Penn GSE, please visit

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