This fall, 4.0 Schools — an early-stage education incubator based in New Orleans and featured here previously — turns three years old. 4.0 was launched by good friend and veteran educator Matt Candler, who arrived in New Orleans in 2006 to lead New Schools for New Orleans and help rebuild a broken public school system in the devastating wake of hurricane Katrina. 4.0 is his latest gig. While core to the unprecedented education landscape of post-Katrina New Orleans, 4.0 is also closely tied to the city’s rapidly expanding entrepreneurial ecosystem (known by locals as the Silicon Bayou). With neighbors like the Launch Pad and Idea Village, ‘lightning rounds of Pabst-powered edu-visions’ are the norm. In three years, Candler and his team have launched 23 ventures and trained over 400 in their approach to education innovation.
Candler describes 4.0’s work as a kind of ‘farm league’ for later stage accelerators. Their programs (Launch is 2-months, Essentials a 1-day intensive) bring together people who can imagine what learning in the future should look like, and give them a platform for turning their ideas into new education solutions. A graduate of 4.0’s 2-month Launch program has a prototype that has been validated by users in local schools, and represents a completely new way of attacking big problems in edu. Launch alums are often perfect candidates for downstream accelerators (500 Startups, NOLA’s Idea Village and others).
Notable 4.0-launched products include mSchool (turning community centers into ‘micro schools’ through vetted hardware and software), enrichED (providing high-quality, flexible school staffing and profiled previously here), and Bricolage Academy (New Orleans’ first diverse, open-enrollment public school that equips kids as makers). The organization awards three Launch graduates per year with a $20K investment to encourage future funding rounds; this fall’s winner was MakerState, bringing maker spaces into existing schools.
4.0 just announced that it will now be offering its 4pto.org/Launch program up to three times per year – bringing to life close to 30 ventures annually. 4.0 is accepting applications for Fall 2013 Launch (Oct 25 – Dec 20) until October 1. To launch a venture within this unique community of teachers, technologists and entrepreneurs, visit 4pt0.org/apply.