Today Innovation Centre Denmark organised the EDUdisrupt conference. It was a day packed with both academia, corporates and VCs as well as a lot of startups and tech. An interesting mix, and a collection of people that not meet regularly.

The day consisted of many short keynotes, raging from the more historical perspective on where education is heading, to the down to earth technical and business challenges.

In general, it was about MOOCs (Massiv Open Online Courses), technology and traditional education, all with the focus on what the future might bring.

Startups present: Labster

One of the startups presenting was Labster, who are replacing expensive lab equipment with virtual tools. Co-founder Mads Bonde gave a keynote.

He highlighted how he sees Labsters approach different to a lot of others on the EdTech sector.

“A lot of business are only incremental innovation – we have taken books, and made them ebooks. And we have taken lectures, made them videos, and put them online. However, we need active learning methodologies. “

“We did not want to do just a virtual laboratory. We wanted really make it a good tool for science education”.

He also talked about scaling. Currently selling their service at $50 per semester per student – which allows the universities to save a lot of money. They have currently most of the Danish universities as costumers, as well as Harvard and some other prominent international universities.

The startup has since the start of 2011 grown to 25 employees. He also mentioned their newest development, developing Labster for the Oculus Rift.

Savivo / Mingoville

Edtech Startup Savivo, famous for the Mingoville apps, was another one of the startups giving a keynote, with Stephan Stephensen talking about hands-on practical challenges from creating a service that is used around the globe.

“Things like that when we developed funclock: an app that teaches kids the time. Should be very simple to translate you would thing. Until you realise you do not say 8:30 in the same way in all languages. Or that spanish has a special word for 2 minutes past.”

Many more small details like these where mentioned – highlighting that education is not just language-sensitive, but also culturally very sensitive and requires deep knowledge to scale globally with quality.

Another lesson he shared was from their first product: A service for mobile phones to help kids study, made for free in collaboration with some big corporates. Even if it was free, only a fraction of the audience used it. Lesson: marketing is important.

“It costs just as much telling people you have done it, as it costs doing the project.”

Also, he shared insights from having become the #1 app in the app-store in multiple countries in the education section – including China. Lesson:

“You don’t make money on the educational apps list in the app store.”

Startup Weekend Education had 3 teams presenting

Three of the teams from Startup Weekend Education CPH, including the winning team ADDDIT, also held short pitches. These where:

  • Kevin from Viocebitz: about creating a storytelling experience for kids, focusing on kids with speech or language problems.
  • Jon Werk Nielsen from All Music Lesson – a site that creates an overview of what both private and public music classes are available. Creating a matchmaking and aiming to create a community around it.
  • The team behind ADDDIT – making students addicted to learning. A gamification platform with user generated questions

Some of the biggest danish EdTech startups…

Some of the other prominent startups where Clio Online, where CEO Janus Benn Sørensen gave a keynote. He talked amongst other about their scaling. Since 2007 they have reached over € 6 M in CAGR, and covering more and more subjects: going from history, religion, chemistry, biology to almost all subjects taught in school now.

They currently are 83 employees, and have 75% of the danish schools as costumers, with over 750 000 users. However, the aim is now to expand, and both the European as well as the Chinese markets are in focus.

…but also newcomers to the scene

An somewhat different startup present was Appellante, where Nikolaj Holck, Fredrik Filip Stæger, Rune Højland talked about how they coded an app, aimed at math education for students, when they themselves still went their last years at high school.

“We where not the only one missing this app. It became the top in the danish app store directly when it was released”

Recently they released a similar app for the physics market, and not only maths. Both are currently the top paid apps in the danish app store. However, when asked if they had a business modell the team said no – not yet at least.

The trio also symbolised the mixture at the event very well – having just finished high school themselves, having done an app within the educational space – but also how they learned to code and thought themselves how to do it.

More EdTech startup present

Also present where a handfull of startups showcasing their products or service. Amongst other the following startups where present:

  • Novloc – Tailor made education.
  • Komsim (kommunikationsimulator) – Training for people with speech injuries, aimed at public health sector.
  • Dansk simulator – Language game using a 3D world, including culture norms such as handshaking vs hugs and stuff Iike that. Originally developed for training military in engaging with other cultures and languages, but now aimed at teaching languages.
  • – Making tests and essays scoring easy
  • – Video material for university classes. Aimed at students. 
    Started as note-sharing but has since pivoted to doing short but efficient videos for university courses.
  • Raspberry pod – Make the Raspberry Pi minicomputer accessible to schools with a build hardware. 
  • Devloping stories – Teaching photo and journalism. Started out as a normal freelance course, but has now turned into a online video education program, complimented with courses in far away places such as Cape Town or Bangkok.
  • Mathinary – Interactive math tools and test, developed by a veteran from the IT sector. Started out as a free to use project, with over 400 000 downloads in Denmark alone.

If you want a longer insight into EdTech startups present in Denmark, this list of EdTech startups in Denmark was compiled by the organisers.

Overall a different and good day, that brought a lot of important players in the EdTech scene together in Copenhagen.