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  • Forbes' 30 Under 30 Celebrates EdTech Innovators in Corporate Training

Last week, Forbes announced its 2017 class of 30 Under 30, and the education list reflects the growing edtech market, not just for K-12 and higher education but for corporate training as well.

Jason Field, founder of BrainStation, is making waves in IT training. BrainStation began in 2012 as a technology school, was acquired by tech firm Konrad Group in 2014 and now trains over 25,000 individuals each year on topics like web and mobile development and UI design. Offerings include part-time courses and full-time bootcamp-style programs. The company’s corporate training is delivered with Konrad Group and includes a management dashboard, budgeting and access to BrainStation’s full catalog. BrainStation’s diversity of offerings and blended learning model differentiate the young company in an increasingly competitive market.

According to Forbes, Rachel Romer Carlson and Brittany Stich’s startup, Guild, “sits at the intersection of three groups”: companies that want to offer education as an employee benefit, adult learners and universities looking to increase online enrollment. The company partners with universities and develops its own GED, ESL and undergraduate-level management training courses. In September of last year, when Redpoint Ventures led Guild’s $8.5-million Series A funding round, investor Scott Raney told TechCrunch that “education is the fastest growing corporate benefit program in the U.S.,” making Guild’s offerings a “win for all parties.”

Joe Vasquez, founder of Runway Incubator, is developing what Forbes describes as “a new community of edtech entrepreneurs.” This community is made up of a coworking space and support for tech companies and Michelson Runway, an edtech accelerator focused on higher education and career training. The accelerator is a partnership between the Michelson 20MM Foundation and Runway Incubator. Its inaugural cohort includes adaptive learning, coaching and recruiting startups, all of which received $25,000 and mentoring opportunities. Other partners include Bisk Ventures, an online education venture firm, and Designs for Learning, a content development company. Runway Incubator not only capitalizes on the influx of edtech startups, but it provides the support they need to be successful.

Consumer apps are ubiquitous, and they are becoming an important part of the training market as well. Alec Whitters, CEO of Higher Learning Technologies, realized as a dental student that an app could also help health sciences professionals. His company developed the top study app for nursing exams and more than 3.3 million downloads for all 40 of its apps, which have expanded into the business, military and college-prep areas as well. Certifications, certificates and licensures provide substantial benefits for a variety of careers but are often required for professions in industries like health care and financial services. Mobile learning for their associated exams is a great way for learners to access content when and where they need it.

As edtech grows, and more and more startups enter the corporate training space with innovative learning technologies, innovators of all ages are bringing new ideas into the field. The 30 Under 30 list represents the early achievements of what should prove to be exciting careers.

Taryn Oesch is an editor at Training Industry.

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