Insight August 21, 2020 Lisa Sacchetti

Is Your Company Prepared to Enter the EdTech Market in the U.S.?

The market opportunity for EdTech organizations in the United States today is significant. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. school districts and educational institutions serve a large population – more than 76 million students. And, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that for the 2018-2019 school year, school districts spent a staggering $739 billion on education.

In addition, there has been a seismic shift to implement online learning capabilities. The EdTech market is expected to reach $350 billion by 2025, with the U.S. solidly in the lead for spending. However, for companies that are new to the U.S. market, are expanding into higher education or another segment of the market, or are entering U.S. EdTech from another technology vertical, it can be incredibly difficult to navigate the landscape and establish a foothold.

Identify Resources Needs, Roles, and Sequencing

To be successful, EdTech firms must be able to clearly identify the resources needed to take advantage of new market or growth opportunities, including human capital. While identifying and defining key roles is critical, it is arguably more important to be able to recognize the sequence in which those roles should be filled. For example, early on, roles may need to be combined for economy and flexibility, while more mature structures should ideally match localized decisions and value chains.

Some firms make the mistake of assuming their home country’s existing leaders and employee base will be sufficient as they branch into a new geography or segment of the EdTech market. The reality is that relying on existing management could preclude you from key market knowledge or networks.

What Skills Should Initial Market Leaders Possess?

It is critical to source, engage, and retain talent who can effectively and nimbly navigate the new market, handling on-the-ground tactics and general business responsibilities adeptly without losing sight of the parent company’s core values and goals. Securing vertical industry leaders and subject matter experts who know the territory and who have track records of demonstrated success with other similarly-positioned companies can give a new market entrant a notable advantage.

It can be advantageous for initial leaders to have ready access to third-party vendors as well as access to the company’s target client base. Excellent communication skills are also key attributes for success, especially if the company’s “home” office is on the other side of the world.

Understanding and Navigating Cultural Differences

One of The Renaissance Network’s (TRN) clients, a Scandinavian company in the EdTech market, has relied on our international market expertise for talent acquisition in 11 different countries. In fact, we have successfully placed 200 professionals with this organization, including approximately 100 U.S.-based hires.

In the course of helping this client, one cultural difference stood out and could have been problematic had they tried to engage and retain talent without our help. In their experience in European markets, compensation for employees and leaders was not heavily weighted toward a variable (commission/bonus) component. In the U.S., however, compensation plans often involve commissions, bonuses, and other incentives.

When this company retained us, we were able to help bridge communication with prospective employees throughout the interview process, navigate around the compensation minefield, and avoid potential friction in the employer/employee relationship. In essence, TRN acted as a communications liaison between the employer and potential employees.

Leverage Established Talent Acquisition Capabilities

Working with an established talent acquisition firm can help your company launch its U.S. business on the right track. More than half of the EdTech organizations TRN works with are based outside the U.S. We have decades of experience helping these companies enter the U.S. market, from getting started by sourcing skilled general managers for their U.S.-based business to building robust teams to support those managers. With a network of professionals who have experience with hundreds of different business scenarios, we can advise clients on how to best leverage leaders and staff to take advantage of market opportunities.

Understanding cultural differences, requirements, and nuances are key when entering a new geographical market. We take the time upfront to understand cultural differences so we can provide our clients with actionable insights into what is likely to help them succeed in the U.S. We also work to identify potential problems and offer alternative solutions.

The market for EdTech products and services in the U.S. is experiencing exponential growth, creating opportunities for organizations around the world.

Contact TRN today for more information and to discover how we can help your organization branch into, and navigate, the U.S. EdTech market effectively.

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Lisa founded The Renaissance Network in 1996 with the mission of building world-class teams and quickly developed a focus on the growing Education and Technology vertical.

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