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Bryan Plumb, CEO of Bee Digital

Building a real business in EdTech

Mar 20, 2020 10:11 pm

Many companies, including many of you reading this email, have made your product free or discounted in response to schools moving to remote learning.

This is one topic that Phil Cutler, CEO of PAPER (formerly Gradeslam), thinks EdTech leaders should think carefully about. No, he's not talking about companies who typically operate on a freemium model. However, he wondered aloud, on the most recent episode of The EdTech Startup Show podcast, what would happen down the line:

  • Will companies eventually try to sell to those users who signed up free?
  • What happens when a small number of teachers from the school sign up for this free version, but the whole school/district doesn't actually have a need for the product?
  • Will the company be able to support those users? And what about if the company has to shut down later?

Of course, the decision to move to free or reduced prices right now is an act of goodwill. But Phil made some good points about how these decisions may play out a few months or years down the line. It's worth a listen.

Aside from just this discussion of how companies are responding to coronavirus, we discussed:

  • Changing business models ūüĒĄ - lessons learned from the business's switch from B2C to selling to schools (and two mentors who helped him along the way)
  • The Future of Voice in Edu ūüéôÔłŹ - PAPER received investment from Google's Voice Tech/AI initiative. We discuss what happens when 3 year-olds can use Alexa for more than accidentally ordering a pizza
  • Scaling educational support ūüďą - how do you make it so all students, regardless of their family's income, can get on-demand educational support? And what's the impact of that? Phil explains.

Click here for the "instant listen" link directly in your browser (no download required).

What's your favorite quote or idea shared in this episode? Leave a comment to share your choice.

Thanks for reading,

Gerard Dawson

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