When Tech EdVentures started offering its technology courses three years ago, it had 16 students.
Now, it provides instruction at 16 locations throughout Dallas-Fort Worth and has touched the lives of more than 3,000 children.
With the growth, there has been an evolution in the Dallas startup’s business model.
Education veteran Allen Selis initially imagined Tech EdVentures would bring coding, computer, and robotics education to kids in a direct to consumer model similar to what Kumon Learning Center has done with math and reading.
“One conversation has the opportunity to impact hundreds of kids as opposed to each one family at a time working with us.”
Instead, Selis has found the B2B approach more fruitful for his startup. Institutional partners mean working with an established population. Plus, there are less overhead costs when teaching in others’ spaces.
“One conversation has the opportunity to impact hundreds of kids as opposed to each one family at a time working with us,” Selis said.
“It’s a whole new scope of operations for us and it is the right direction for Tech EdVentures to go.”
The startup has especially found interest from area recreation centers including those in Plano, The Colony, Grapevine, Sachse, and others it’s in talks with.
“Rec centers found that they really wanted to offer this content, but the infrastructure wasn’t developed to give them choices for lots of different places,” Selis said.
DEVELOPING K-12 COMPUTER SCIENCE CURRICULUM
Last week, Tech EdVentures announced another step in the B2B direction in a three-year agreement with the Shelton School.
It’s worked with schools before including Parish Episcopal School and Highland Park Presbyterian Day School. Last school year, it offered after-school programs at Shelton.
However, Selis described the recent Shelton agreement as a “more ambitious one.”
As part of the partnership, Tech EdVentures will develop a computer science curriculum for grades K-12 at the North Dallas private school.
“It’s a literacy that’s very important for our young students for what future they are going into,” said Shelton School Executive Director Suzanne Stell.
“It’s a literacy that’s very important for our young students for what future they are going into.”
She said the school already offers science, technology, engineering, and math environments for its students, but Shelton’s younger learners weren’t necessarily getting the coding instruction which promotes problem-solving.
“We felt like this would be a perfect opportunity for our children to gain that confidence and learn the problem-solving and critical thinking in a multisensory way,” Stell said.
Selis believes the aligned K-12 curriculum it’s developing for Shelton will be something other schools in the nation will be interested in.
“Years and years of kindergarteners never had a chance to get hands on with this stuff,” Selis said. “There are a lot of kids that could have been great engineers or great graphic designers. … but they just never got exposed. That’s why we want to catch them young.”
NEXT STEP FOR TECH EDVENTURES
Tech EdVentures raised about $575,000 in a funding round last fall as it graduated from Tech Wildcatters’ milestone-driven Gauntlet program. The money enabled the startup to hire more staff to scale its program.
If it sustains its current growth rate, Selis said it won’t have to raise more funding — at least until it expands to other cities.
“We think we’d be a natural in Austin and Houston. Other Sun Belt cities would be great,” Selis said.
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