American Councils Supports Russian Startups in Education Technology

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Recent acceleration program administered by American Councils for International Education advances U.S.-Russia innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization.

Russian startups visit the US through American Councils for International Education

Russian educational technology startup founders meet at Betamore business incubator in Baltimore, Maryland during their two-week working visit.

The number of Russian startups applying to participate in the USRIC program demonstrates a serious interest on the part of Russian entrepreneurs and innovators in exploring market opportunities in the U.S.

Three education technology startups from Russia traveled to the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore regions on March 2-12 as part of the U.S.-Russia Innovation Corridor (USRIC) program.

Administered by American Councils for International Education and funded by the US-Russia Foundation, USRIC connects Russian startups to universities, scientists, business development experts, industry associations, and customers in the U.S. with the goal of accelerating commercial activity and creating win-win economic partnerships.

"The number of Russian startups applying to participate in the USRIC program demonstrates a serious interest on the part of Russian entrepreneurs and innovators in making contacts and exploring market opportunities in the U.S. This represents a new and relatively untapped source of cooperation among researchers, as well as businesses, in both countries," said Dr. Dan E. Davidson, President of American Councils for International Education.

Russian startups participating in the March delegation included:

  • Azbuka – an education content processing platform that distributes licensed content (including multimedia) from leading e-publishers, such as Pearson, through learning management systems.
  • Edutainme – a team of edtech enthusiasts that unite secondary, higher, and professional education through an online media platform, research laboratory, and professional development center.
  • Hybinar – a platform that allows audiences to broadcast, interact, and take notes real time via a mobile device while watching online presentations, courses, and lectures.

Throughout the intensive two-week working visit, the startups met with U.S. investors and companies focused on education technology, including Village Capital, Discovery Education, Blackboard, and Pearson. The delegation toured Betamore and ETC, two of Baltimore’s leading business incubators focused on accelerating the growth of early-stage companies, as well as education technology centers at George Washington University and George Mason University. Throughout the visit, U.S. experts shared perspectives on intellectual property protection, market entry strategies, and key trends in educational technology. The visit culminated in a roundtable with local startups hosted at American Councils’ office in Washington D.C., featuring a discussion of global best practices for education technology.

“Education is a top market but it is a market with a very slow sales cycle. There are multiple stakeholders with different interests and tensions between each group,” said John Connell, an educational technology expert and founder of I Am Learner, speaking to the Russian startup founders. “With your technologies, students have the ability to access educational content at any time, and you’re helping them. The fact that you’re in the United States shows that you are on the path toward internationalizing your model.”

Formed by American Councils in 2013, the U.S.-Russia Innovation Corridor is an initiative of the Enhancing University Research and Entrepreneurial Capacity (EURECA) program, funded by the US-Russia Foundation. The University of Maryland and the University of Nizhny Novgorod are founding partners of the U.S.-Russia Innovation Corridor. Since fall 2013, the U.S.-Russia Innovation Corridor has provided mentorship and organized intensive working visits for over 20 startups from academic institutions, including the University of Nizhny Novgorod, Perm National Research University, Yaroslavl State University, National Mining University in St. Petersburg, and Kazan Federal University. For more information about the U.S.-Russia Innovation Corridor, please contact Adrian Erlinger at American Councils, visit USRIC’s website at, or follow @usric_en on Twitter for more information on current and future activities.

About American Councils
American Councils for International Education is a premier, international nonprofit creating educational opportunities that prepare individuals and institutions to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world. Through academic exchanges, overseas language immersion, and educational development programs, American Councils designs and administers innovative programs that broaden individual perspectives, increase knowledge, and deepen understanding. For 40 years, American Councils has responded to the needs of the communities where we work with hundreds of robust, international education programs that span over 69 countries, 40 languages, and are represented by over 55,000 alumni worldwide, including government leaders, top international educators, business innovators, public officials, and K-16 students.

Contact: Adrian Erlinger
Program Manager, Innovation & Capacity Building
Tel: 202-833-7522
Email: aerlinger(at)americancouncils(dot)org

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