Zynga.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to using social games for social good, today announced a partnership with NewSchools Venture Fund, a venture philanthropy that supports education entrepreneurs to transform public education, to create a new “ed tech” accelerator focused on enhancing the quality and reach of learning games and apps designed to improve education outcomes. Zynga, the world’s leading provider of social game services, will host the accelerator at its San Francisco headquarters, providing the participating companies with work space at its office.
Zynga will encourage its employees to volunteer and collaborate with the companies participating in the accelerator’s first cohort – sharing their expertise in areas such as game design, testing, analytics, product marketing and distribution. In addition to access to the Zynga team, Zynga.org has agreed to commit $1 million in funding for the accelerator’s first year.
“We’re excited about the learning potential of games,” said Ken Weber, Executive Director, Zynga.org. “Through the efforts of Zynga.org, we’ve shown that social games can impact peoples’ lives for the better, and we’re honored to collaborate with NewSchools, a proven leader in the education technology space, on this accelerator. We want to help entrepreneurs create high quality, scalable learning games that will enhance learning experiences for all 21st century students.”
“We’re proud to partner with Zynga.org on this project, which brings together the world’s leader in social gaming, the top K-12 education impact investor and an initial cohort of all-star entrepreneurs,” said Ted Mitchell, CEO, NewSchools. “Together, we are excited to push the boundaries of how students learn through educational games.”
Zynga.org and NewSchools have selected a handful of emerging ed tech companies to join the accelerator’s first cohort, which will officially kick off this summer. The companies – Kidaptive, LocoMotiveLabs and Motion Math – all have launched learning games and apps that have gained strong initial traction in the marketplace. The cohort will also include Edmodo, the world’s largest social learning platform for education, as a charter partner. Edmodo helps more than 19 million educators and learners connect and share resources, including apps and games.
“Zynga and NewSchools are creating the perfect environment to take educational gaming to the next level,” said P.J. Gunsagar, Co-Founder and CEO, Kidaptive. “This collaboration of educators, game designers, and technologists has the potential to transform the way we motivate and teach kids. We at Kidaptive are thrilled and honored to be a part of the Zynga NewSchools accelerator and are excited to support the mission of improving educational outcomes for all kids.”