Mission

co.lab is an accelerator that works with startups leveraging the power of digital games to build transformative educational technologies for PK-12 students and teachers. Our model is built upon a belief in the need for innovation in education, and in games’ potential to enhance learning – by creating virtual sandboxes that encourage experimentation and engagement, offering new opportunities for collaborative interactions, and unlocking new ways to assess cognitive and social growth. Our program is designed to add value to early stage edtech companies while generating knowledge that will help designers, educators, researchers and funders better understand challenges and opportunities related to developing high quality learning games and applications.

Program

co.lab’s primary offering is a four-month product accelerator based in San Francisco, California, focused on helping promising edtech startups improve and successfully scale their product(s). Participating companies receive a stipend of up to $50,000, desk space in co.lab’s offices, and most importantly access to tools, best practices, and hands-on mentorship from our advisor network – which includes best-in-class game industry professionals, entrepreneurs, educators and venture capitalists. Drawing upon the resources of our founding partners, we’re creating opportunities for developers to build, test and distribute great products to millions of students and teachers worldwide.

To learn more about the co.lab experience and the value we provide to companies, please visit our program page.

Founding Partners

Team

Friends of co.lab

We work with a wide range of leading gaming and edtech organizations to support our companies. Collaborators include:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is co.lab’s focus?

co.lab is designed to support the development of high-quality educational technologies that improve academic and social outcomes for PK-12 students using the power of games. co.lab works with cohorts of promising startup companies to accelerate their products. Our program strengthens these companies’ games by sharing best practices, tools and expertise, as well as by providing access to critical feedback from students and educators.

Who can apply to co.lab? What are the criteria?

Applications for co.lab are open to any startup (for-profit or non-profit) with one or more technology products focused on using the power of games to improve academic and/or social outcomes for PK-12 students. Successful applicants should be prepared to locate a founding and/or product team in San Francisco for the length of the program. We work primarily with startups developing learning game apps (content), measurement and evaluation tools (M&E), educational platforms interested in distributing games (distribution), and/or other educational services that are looking to learn from best practices in commercial gaming to improve distribution, retention and engagement (gamification).

Preference will be given to teams with innovative products, ideas or prototypes that demonstrate significant promise for producing transformative effects on teaching, learning, and/or education in general. A strong preference will also be shown for companies with the potential to achieve wide distribution and generate revenue at scale. Companies that participate in co.lab must be incorporated in the United States.

At what stage should companies apply?

We work with companies at a variety of stages — anywhere from company formation (pre-seed) all the way to Series B or beyond. (Our first 2 cohorts are comprised of companies that represent most of these stages of development.) Given our unique access to talent, tools and best practices from the commercial game industry, we believe we can add value to edtech startups across the company’s life cycle.

How do teams apply to co.lab?

Please see our application page for more information.

What roles do Zynga.org and NewSchools Venture Fund play within co.lab?

Zynga.org and NewSchools Venture Fund are co-founding partners of co.lab. In the first year of the program, Zynga.org will provide 100% of co.lab’s funding. In addition, Zynga.org provides office space in San Francisco, and also coordinates access to Zynga’s talent and best practices for co.lab companies. NewSchools Venture Fund provides co.lab with operational oversight and guidance, coordinates partnerships and pilot testing with educators and schools and includes co.lab companies in all activities available to our network of edtech entrepreneurs.

Who staffs co.lab?

co.lab is managed by a team of full-time, dedicated staff employed by NewSchools Venture Fund. In addition, both Zynga.org and NewSchools contribute staff time to the accelerator on an in-kind basis. Volunteers from the game industry, including Zynga employees, are also a key part of co.lab’s approach to sharing best practices and advice on product development, marketing and distribution and other related topics.

Where is co.lab located?

co.lab is located at 650 Townsend Street, Suite 225, San Francisco, CA 94103.

How long is each cohort?

Each cohort will last approximately four months.

What type of financial support will participating teams receive?

Participating companies will each receive a stipend between $25,000 and $50,000.

Does co.lab receive equity from participating companies?

The primary aim of co.lab is to generate a social return by helping participating startups improve their products and generate revenue at scale. As part of participating in co.lab, companies receive a stipend as well as the accelerator services and resources described on our program page. In exchange we ask for a nominal equity stake, which generally ranges between 0.5 and 5 percent, depending on stage of growth. The final terms of each offer will be determined on a case-by-case basis in consultation with each company.