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Xconomy: Back To School For Startups

September 20, 2013

With “back to school” in the air, there’s a lot going on in education technology around Boston. The edtech accelerator LearnLaunchX is graduating its first class of seven startups this week. What they do ranges from online-video tools to after-school programs and grading software. For example, Cognii is trying to automate the grading of written tests and assignments- wouldn’t that be something. The bigger idea here is to create something like a “Siri for education”- an intelligent tutor that could help personalize learning. That’s a huge technical challenge, of course, and edtech companies will also have to find the right market.

In other innovation news:

-Acceleron Pharma is the latest biotech to go public. The Cambridge company, which is working on drugs for blood diseases and cancer, raised more than $80 million in its IPO.

-Our startup of the week is Yesware. The Boston company has raised $13.5 million in new venture money and is looking to expand with its e-mail software for salespeople.

---And lastly, speaking of Yesware, the company’s investors had some important advice in its early days. Slow down to speed up. It’s an old leadership mantra, but it applies to startups in the age of social media and rapid-fire product cycles. In other words, sometimes it helps to take the time to think about what you really want to do. But then you also have to go do it.


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