The Goal

Our goal is to foster an education innovation ecosystem in Southern California to further instruct and advance innovators who have ideas, whether programmatic or product. We will achieve this objective through:

  1. An accelerator for early stage companies with a minimum viable product.
  2. Business plan competition at USC Demo Day.
  3. Communities of practice for innovation in education.
  4. Proprietary EdTech learning and entrepreneurship blended courses.
  5. Workshops and speakers.
  6. A learning innovation festival.
  7. Investment funds to deploy capital in these companies.
  8. Global partnerships (particularly in the Pacific Rim, Africa, and Latin America) to promote USC’s endeavors in innovation.

The EdTech Ecosystem

The Accelerator will be the first component of the ecosystem to be announced. By September 1, we will be seeking applicants worldwide for 8-10 companies to participate in a 4-month program to be launched in October. The Accelerator will offer workspace on the USC campus. We will also provide onsite and virtual (for chosen companies not in the LA region) coaching by the Managing Directors and our Mentors. Moreover, these entrepreneurs will benefit from interaction with faculty, students, and alumni throughout the USC community. We will particularly nurture women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color.

Along with USC’s existing entrepreneur speaker series, we will offer edtech meetups, workshops, and educator/practitioner spotlights. The Mentor network of learning experts and USC alumni will be composed of world class practitioners. These activities will be open to the community at large, with a special focus on the Accelerator companies. USC students will be eligible for apprenticeships with the Lab and the companies. We will, additionally, develop partnerships with relevant local public sector and non-profit organizations, as well as communities of venture investors.

Accelerator companies will receive priority in the EdTech Business Plan Competition during the annual USC Demo Day. Prizes will be presented in the name of sponsors. The categories can be proposed by sponsors and might focus on best submissions from: higher ed access, urban K-12, workplace/vocation, member of USC community, artificial intelligence, global reach, media/curriculum, and social impact.

“The world we have created is a product of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

— Albert Einstein

Global Partnerships

This is a unique initiative; we do not know of another like it. This is as an opportunity for the University to create a global learning innovation ecosystem with existing and new partners (in the private, public, philanthropic, and non-profit spheres), as well as incubators/accelerators throughout the world. Given USC’s location and strong reputation in the Pacific Rim, we anticipate a special focus on this region, in addition to Africa and Latin America.


Los Angeles, CA
USC Rossier School of Education
Photo Credit: © Steve Cohn  
© 2009 Steve Cohn Photography
(310) 277-2054
Julie Slayton

Managing Director

Los Angeles, CA
Rossier School of Education
Photo Credit: © Steve Cohn 
© 2009 Steve Cohn Photography
(310) 277-2054
Anthony B Maddox

Managing Director / Investment Committee

Dean Kline

Managing Director / Investment Committee

Doug Lynch

Managing Director / Investment Committee

James Bottom

Managing Director / Investment Committee

John Brooks Slaughter

Investment Committee

Phil Kim
Phil Kim

Investment Committee

IncubateUSC Avatar
George Straschnov

Investment Committee

Application & Schedule

  • Sept 5 — Application Launch
  • Oct 3 — Submission Deadline
  • Nov 5 — Program Start
  • Nov 5 — March 11: Programming
  • Feb 8 — Business Plan Competition at USC Demo Day