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Guiding EdTech Companies in International Waters

Updated: Apr 27, 2021

In these days of market instability, edtech companies would do well to diversify their revenue streams by expanding their customer base internationally. They can avoid a lot of headaches and mistakes by engaging a firm or agency to provide them with advice on how to make the move, according to Michael E. Spencer. Armed with years of experience in edtech, Michael is the founder and CEO of Global Expansion Strategies (GES), which guides edtech clients through the process of developing innovative blended/hybrid learning models that accommodate current day education institutions' requests to meet ever-changing forms of delivering instruction.

GES was launched to advise edtech companies how to successfully expand globally using local representatives known as strategic channel partners (SCPs). The SCP knows how local schools work and what they require , and therefor makes schools fully aware of the benefits of the program. Using an SCP ensures not only a successful implementation of the blended learning solution, but also contributes to scaling the program, which improves retention of students year-over-year. "We are addressing major market pain points including fragmented decision-making on edtech purchases that exists in the U.S. and a selling season focused on those spring months before the end of the fiscal year. While some countries follow the same academic calendar as the U.S., other schools start in January of February, creating the opportunity for new revenue spikes," explains Michael. GES advises early to mid-stage companies on building out and executing go-to-market strategies specific to the product and markets we believe would be a best fit for the company."

GES was recently approached by a large international school operator requesting that the company provide them with a series of blended learning models, incorporating both hardware and SaaS solutions that would accommodate any number of uncertain instructional environments due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Upon implementing GES's recommendations for how to use edtech hardware and SaaS solutions configured in multiple blended learning models, the school operator will be able to enroll all their students in their certificate-based program, which they had been unable to do before consulting with GES. The blended learning models used by GES depend on the education institutions' requirements, but ultimately will entail a combination of in-class and online delivery of content and instruction. "The key in today's fast changing environment is flexibility. In response to school closures all of the world, the technologies we are observing to be in demand are solutions that accommodate true 1:1 learning environments," adds Michael.

GES' differentiation factor is their experience in the international edtech market, which spans decades. "We know the players, we know the systems companies have to work with, and we know what to expect when a company makes the jump into a new country, " adds the pioneering leader. "To help the edtech companies we work with to stand out from their completion, we advise them to be sensitive to tthe education institutions' current pain points and always provide recommendations/solutions that directly address those pain points, " Michael also states that when recommending blended/hybrid solutions and models to schools, provides have to be transparent, engaging and get buy-in from administrators, teachers, parents and students. All of these stakeholders must clearly understand how optimal student outcomes can be achieved upon implementation in the school, and continuously informing them about the products' roadmap makes the difference.

As GES continues to help companies find their place in the international edtech market, they will also be exploring Seed and A Stage investment opportunities in edtech companies. In a time when budgets and the very structure of education are in flux, old-school marketing in the form of extolling the features of your product just won't cut it. "To succeed in today's uncertain environment, edtech providers must provide an island of certainty by explaining how everybody who touches their solution - teacher, students parents, administrators - will benefit." says Michael.

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