GSV Cup Elite 200 — Promising Pre-Seed and Seed Stage Startups in EdTech

Alex Argo
GSV Ventures

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Announcing the Elite 200 semi-finalists for the world’s largest EdTech pitch competition with $1M in prizes

By Alex Argo & Fran Rosenberg

Every large scale EdTech company serving millions of active learners across the world, what GSV calls Weapons of Mass Instruction, started with a few inspired individuals and a disruptive idea. In the last two years, the increased global adoption of EdTech opened the floodgates for entrepreneurs everywhere to innovate and tackle the biggest problems in education head-on. To support and increase exposure for these early stage companies trying to change the world for the better, we created the GSV Cup, a pitch competition for pre-seed and seed stage startups in digital learning from Pre-K to Gray. EdTech startups from around the world apply for the chance to be recognized as one of the top 200 early-stage startups, “Elite 200”, and compete to win up to $1M in cash and prizes at the ASU+GSV Summit.

Today, we are announcing 2022's Elite 200 — a list of the most promising pre-seed and seed stage startups in EdTech globally. These 200 companies were selected from over 750 applicants, making this year’s Cup the most competitive yet. More than 175 judges from global venture capital firms and strategics like Accel, General Atlantic, Reach Capital, and Owl Ventures scored the Elite 200. The judges used the “Five P’s” framework (People, Product, Potential, Predictability, and Purpose) — a tool GSV uses to evaluate potential investment opportunities.

Meet the GSV Cup Elite 200.

The GSV Cup Elite 200

This year’s Elite 200 companies continue to break barriers, comprised of an increasingly diverse and global group. 58% of the companies on this esteemed list have a female founder, and 51% have a founder of color. This year’s cohort is well-represented by regions far and wide, with 44% of the Elite 200 companies headquartered outside of the US, reflecting the continued globalization of education. Emerging markets increased their representation, with LATAM doubling to 9% of the 2022 cohort compared to last year. North America, specifically the US, continues to lead the way with the majority of the companies located in this region.

These companies are finding innovative ways to leverage technology to solve problems for learners around the world. There are several common trends we observe across this year’s Elite 200, such as, the use of AI technology to improve personalization of learning or the emergence of game-based platforms to create immersive learning experiences. Many companies leverage technology across all stages of learning to help forge human connection and enhance collaboration in an increasingly remote world. These companies are serving learners across the entire learning lifecycle, from Pre-K to Gray, with companies falling into five main categories: Early Childhood, K-12, Higher Education, Adult Consumer Learning, and Adult Enterprise Learning.

The Elite 200 is an acclaimed list of companies with the potential to become scaled players in the EdTech sector. Previous winners have raised successful rounds of funding following their inclusion on the list and continue to grow at a rapid pace. The path for a startup from early stage to scale is often challenging and non-linear — but GSV recognizes and supports the innovative companies working to ensure that ALL people have equal access to the future.

“Winning the GSV Cup was such a pivotal and exciting moment for our startup. It provided us with a meaningful platform to gain exposure in the EdTech space. As a result, we were able to make many connections with prospective customers, partners, investors… AND meet Mindy Kaling,”said Ahva Sadeghi, Co-founder & CEO of Symba.io, which won the top prize as a startup in last year’s competition.

Ahva Sadeghi, Co-founder & CEO of Symba.io, pitching her company live at the ASU+GSV Summit before winning 1st place

The GSV Cup is powered by Google Cloud, HolonIQ, HubSpot for Startups, and GSV Ventures. Learn more details on the GSV Cup semifinalists, The Elite 200, here. The finalists will be determined by a live audience at the 2022 ASU+GSV Summit. Register today to watch the competition live in San Diego on April 4–6 here.

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