Report from SIIA Ed Tech Business Forum 2012

Report from SIIA Ed Tech Business Forum 2012

SIIA, the Software and Information Industry Association, held its 2012 Ed Tech Business Forum ( at the McGraw-Hill Conference Center ( in New York City. It brought together some of education's biggest supporters, as well as the top education solutions and product leaders. It also featured new entrepreneurs willing to share their ideas and dreams—looking for support and backing in order to launch the next, best education solution. If you couldn’t attend, Tech & Learning was there for you. Watch our video coverage to hear Karen Billings, SIIA’s education division vice president, future-think trends, and get a taste of the Innovative Incubator finalist presentations. Here’s your front row seat:

SIIA’s Innovative Incubation

So, where do great education solutions and products come from? It really is like an athlete trying to get into the big leagues. Many try, but the percentages of those whom succeed are small. For new products, there’s a lot of vetting involved, and most new product ideas don’t pass the mustard—never getting out of the starting blocks. Most pre-product ideas aren’t even considered, and almost all need to show they already sell—before any venture capital help. Realistically, the chances of launching a new education solution is a difficult route for those who choose to seek a plan to reach their goals and dreams.

Since 2006 SIIA’s Innovation Incubator program identifies and supports entrepreneurs in the development and distribution of innovative learning technologies. The Innovative Incubator gives new ideas a stage in front of the top people in the education marketplace, as well as others looking to back the next, great education thing.

This year, 80 passionate, and creative Ed Tech entrepreneurs, which included former educators, put their product ideas to the test in the SIIA Innovative Incubator challenge at Ed Tech Business Forum 2012. Those 80 were thinned down to 12, until 6 finalists remained. The audience used response devices to vote after listening to final presentations from all 6 participants. Kickstarter ( is a cakewalk compared to the pressure cooker SIIA innovative incubator participants had to endure.

One was chosen most likely to succeed (Check winners’ list below).

Here are the six finalists:

Dan Carroll of Clever

Rob Tedesco of iPrompts

New Award:

Ken Royal is a teacher/education and education technology blogger/reporter, video interviewer, podcaster, education event news commentator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology experience. His teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, and Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. Read more of Ken’s work at Royal Reports.