What do you like about your role?
As a global VC, we see dealflow from all corners of the Earth, which provides us with a very unique insight into tech trends in education across multiple markets. This is both fun and enlightening as it highlights that there may be differences in culture, implementation, and infrastructure, but ultimately we are all humans. That means we see a lot of the exact same problems in education exist all over the world.
Fresco is also unique in that we do not invest solely in edtech, so we also actively source opportunities in our focus areas of the future of work and digital health. As such, we are able to gain exposure to tech solutions that work in other verticals, as well as cutting edge deep tech that has not yet been applied to education.
But most of all, I love working with founders and with other investors who are just as passionate about changing the world as we are!
Share three predictions on the future of Edtech.
This year, we’re very focused on three key trends: consolidation in the K-12 space in the U.S., an increasing investor focus on higher education / workforce readiness, and a pick-up in cross-border M&A in edtech overall.
What technologies do you believe have the potential to transform the education industry?
Artificial Intelligence is already transforming the workforce and disrupting what most have thought were secure career pathways and highly valued skills. I believe this will be the single most disruptive and transformative technology of our generation, and that we will see its impact much sooner than most people are expecting.
Looking at the key trends over the past 5 years in edtech, what would you say have been the key areas of change that are impacting edtech today? Anything unexpected that surprised you? Trends that were overhyped and never met their expected potential?
We are very focused on the application of technology and not technology itself, so it’s rare for us to get caught up in trends. That said, I’ve been very interested by the hype around adaptive learning and the reason why adaptive platforms have not been been as impactful on outcomes as most expected. This is closely tied to the slow rate of digital adoption of textbooks, which is a trend we’re spending a lot of time on this year.
Why is it important for all players in the edtech ecosystem to continuously connect, network and learn from each other?
We are rapidly shifting from a world of scarcity to one of abundance. Whether it is information, capital, ideas, or relationships, we believe an open, networked and collaborative approach is the most effective way to navigate this monumental shift. Furthermore, this generation is facing the biggest challenges that we have ever faced, and it is our responsibility to work together to find the best solutions the world can offer. That’s bigger than any one person, stakeholder, or company.
When you think about joining EdTechXAsia this year, what are you looking forward to? What makes you excited about our event in Singapore?
Fresco’s mission is building global ecosystems, so we see EdTechXAsia as an exciting opportunity to connect with all key stakeholders in the region. In particular, I’m looking forward to learning more about how large corporates are interacting with global startups and how we can help bridge that gap. There’s still a significant imbalance between sources of capital and sources of innovation.
Join Allison and our 150+ thought leader speakers at EdTechXAsia 2017 on 31st October-1st November 2017 - reserve your place now >>