Farewell Navitas. Next Mission >> Global Education Intelligence.

Building the world’s smartest source of education intelligence to help better predict and plan the future of learning and work.

Patrick Brothers
Apr 17, 2018 · 5 min read

This week, here at ASU+GSV, is my last official duty as CEO of Navitas Ventures and Navitas’ Chief Development Officer. It has been an incredible and rewarding journey leading Navitas’ transformation over the last 3 and a half years and fantastic experience ahead of the next chapter.

My big news is that I am spinning-out of Navitas with the Global Head of Education and Digital Learning Futures, Maria Spies, to build a global education intelligence platform. We are called ‘Holon IQ’ (backstory below) and we are on a mission to connect the world with the technology, skills and capital to transform education.

Today is a big day as it also marks our first contribution with our new hats on. We are proud to have partnered up with StartUp Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network who today launched their annual Global StartUp Ecosystem Report. Maria and I co-authored the EdTech Deep Dive and we have posted some quick insights here or you can download the whole 150 page report here.

More background below and a formal launch over the next few months. The best way to stay in touch is by leaving your details at our HolonIQ landing page or connecting up on LinkedIn or WeChat.

Inspired by Navitas

Leading Navitas’ transformation over the last few years and building Navitas Ventures with Maria has been a privileged and incredible journey to say the least. Working with Rod Jones, a deeply passionate Founder CEO, 25 years in, with over 6,000 staff in 50 countries at 120 campuses serving 80,000 or so students was everything I was hoping it would be and more.

It was Navitas’ mission that really drew me to join the team, “to become one of the world’s most trusted learning organisations”. It was 2014 and Forbes had just voted Navitas one of the most innovative growth companies in the world. My mandate as Chief Development Officer would be to design and mobilise the organisation to set itself up for another 20 years of growth and shortly thereafter co-found a $40M global early stage venture fund to seed ‘Engine 2’ (now called Navitas Ventures). Does it get any better?!

There are so many people to thank for such an awesome chapter, none of which would have been possible without Rod (literally! and figuratively). Congratulations to David B who I know will lead Navitas to new heights. I have learnt so much from so many folks; teachers, leaders and entrepreneurs in China, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and North America and was proud to serve an awesome team.

Teaming Up with Maria

One of my favourite quotes is the old African Proverb…

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”

… and they also say ‘Nothing great was ever achieved alone”. In this spirit, I am really privileged to be teaming up and co-founding HolonIQ with Maria whom I met and worked alongside at Navitas in her capacity as Head of Education and Digital Learning Futures. Maria is one of the strongest, thoughtful and just plain awesome leaders I have met in my travels. We built Navitas Ventures together and I often joke ‘all my best insights are Maria’s’.

Maria caught the EdTech bug about 20 years ago developing one of the worlds’ first online postgraduate programs. Using technology to enhance learning, provide access, and deliver for scale has been a passion of Maria’s ever since and so its no surprise Maria has been a phenomenal colleague, coach, mentor and now co-founder.

Connecting the Dots

This week at ASU+GSV, we are showing off the awesome work we did at Navitas Ventures and setting the new team up to continue that work. We really had no idea when we started Project Landscape that it would grow so big, so fast and inspire such awesome encouragement and feedback. What started as a project to understand the fast moving and emerging field of education technology and innovation to guide our internal focus, quickly turned into a global, community-driven initiative working with experts from all over the world.

In retrospect, Project Landscape is kind of a proof of concept for HolonIQ. What we learnt in the process is just how many folks around the world are looking for global benchmarks on the future of education. So, combined with the learnings from Factbase.org which I founded almost ten years ago and Maria’s expertise, we have set an ambitious objective of full spectrum global intelligence from learning to work.

Spinning out and starting HolonIQ allows us to start fresh from a blank sheet of paper, building a dedicated tech stack and data partners from around the world who are experts in their field. We are leaving all of our work behind with the Navitas team to seed their ongoing commitment to further develop Landscape and Ecosystems so that we can focus on building a dedicated, investment grade platform for HolonIQ to support decisions around technology, skills and capital around the world.

HolonIQ. Global Intelligence Platform.

In systems theory, a Holon is an evolving and self-organizing ecosystem and we couldn’t think of a better way to describe how education or innovation itself operates. IQ is what we plan to support teachers, leaders and entrepreneurs around the world with through our platform.

We will have refined our story and value proposition by the time we launch (next few months) but for now our manifesto is as follows…

One and a half billion learners at five million schools, colleges and universities around the world are depending on innovation to prepare them for the jobs of the future. However, the overwhelming majority of institutions are unable to innovate fast enough to deliver on this mission.

Through a machine learning platform and global network of partners, we connect the entire learning to work spectrum with the technology, skills and capital to innovate. We help teachers, leaders and entrepreneurs to thrive and enable investors to participate in their growth.

The result is significantly more innovation, accelerating the transformation of education and providing dramatically improved access, affordability and outcomes to learners everywhere.


We’d love to keep you updated on HolonIQ and our mission to connect the world with the technology, skills and capital to transform education. The best way to stay in touch is by leaving your details at our HolonIQ landing page. Keep connected on WeChat (patrickbrothers) or LinkedIn.

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