Should Education Tech Startups Bother to Be Lean?

Last week Ki Mae Huessner at GigaOM raised the question of whether edtech startups should be lean or “pudgy.”

John Katzman

Many typical edtech startups live by the motto that it is best to be lean, following the philosophy of Eric Ries. However, John Katzman recently asserted that edtech startups may benefit by taking a different path.

Katzman founded Princeton Review, 2U, and most recently, Noodle Education. He believes that edtech startups should build a team with years of expertise in education and business and that includes people with

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mixed professional backgrounds, rather than hiring “one guy with a vision and a bunch of [hard-working] twenty-somethings.”

Huessner agreed this approach makes sense, especially as education can be a complicated field. She said:

At a time when money is rushing into education technology – much of which is from investors with little education experience to founders with little education experience – Katzman’s point is well taken. Education is a different beast, with a denser set of stakeholders and a more complicated definition of success.

What do you think? Should edtech startups invest in a larger, and potentially more expensive team?