LearnLaunch Welcomes First Breakthrough Accelerator Cohort

This week, edtech accelerator LearnLaunch began the pilot of its Breakthrough program, an accelerator targeted toward more established startups. Four companies were selected to participate in the six-week program: Chalk Talk, EduMetrics, Riipen, and Zulama.

Asad Butt, Operations Director for the LearnLaunch Accelerator, spoke on what companies the Breakthrough model was created for.

“It’s [designed] for two types of companies […] companies that have significant traction in revenue and […] international companies that want to create a beachhead in the states.”

Butt went on to explain that the new program serves as a way to provide access to the LearnLaunch ecosystem for more mature edtech startups.

“Over the years, there have been many companies that have wanted to be a part of the LearnLaunch community, but they felt the traditional accelerator program didn’t fit them at that time.”

So, LearnLaunch decided to create a more condensed, intensive, and specialized program for more established companies, largely aimed at creating company partnerships, investment planning, and personalized mentorship.

LearnLaunch takes less equity in the Breakthrough program (about 2-4%) than the typical accelerator programs (a standard 6%). The LearnLaunch team then brings the cohort members into their Boston campus, and helps them to develop their business throughout the 6-week program.

“For most of them, it’s introductions to investors or potential partners, but each company has different needs.”

LearnLaunch helps companies throughout the program by providing specialized mentorships in areas of need.

“We’ve built up this mentor community of 150 mentors in the Boston area, and we have the breadth and depth of expertise that any of these companies can utilize,” said Butt.

Butt says in one way, the program is used to establish a potentially longer relationship after demos are pitched in early June.

“While they will only be here for a month, we know we’ll be working with them for the next six months, year, two years.”

Time will only tell what these partnerships will bring. But for now, the LearnLaunch team is satisfied with the results so far.

“We are really happy with the companies that applied,” said Butt. “The quality of the applications surpassed our expectations.”

Hopefully, as the inaugural Breakthrough cohort progresses, they will continue to exceed expectations.

Nate Leese

Nate Leese

Nate Leese is an Emerson College senior journalism student focusing on long term photography projects and visual media. Growing up a third culture kid he enjoys learning about relationships between cultures during times of change.