Earlier this year I had a chance to spend some time in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, talking to a host of venture capitalists and ed tech startup companies about the recent surge of investment and entrepreneurialism in the education sector. It was fascinating and, coming from the traditionally-minded, government-focused world of Washington, DC, a lot like visiting a foreign country.
So it was fun to see many of the same people again last month, this time closer to home, on the top floor of Microstrategy’s semi-circular glass headquarters in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia. The meeting was co-hosted by Michael Saylor and former Lotus 1-2-3 CEO and current investor/philanthropist Mitch Kapor. One of the featured guests was Aneesh Chopra, the charismatic former Chief Technology Officer for the United States of America and rumored candidate for the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia who was once described by Jon Stewart during a Daily Show broadcast as the “Indian George Clooney.”
My friend Michael Staton was there, representing the college social networking and student engagement company he founded, Inigral. So were the guys from New Charter University, a recently-launched low-cost online university startup, and Eren Baldi from the online learning platform Udemy, along with a collection of tech people, for-profit college executives, and Obama administration representatives.