ie Rockets | IE Reinventing Higher Education
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We are glad to announce our selected startups

Thrilled to be working with these super teams!

Welcome to ie ROCKETS

What is


Part accelerator, part angel investor, part very committed educational client – ie ROCKETS is designed to rapidly build your capabilities and brand in the higher education sector, helping you penetrate the market quicker and making it easier for you to raise capital.

How does

ie ROCKETS work?

Tell us about your product and your vision for how it will change higher education; we’ll talk, and if we share your perspective and get a good chemistry between our teams, we’ll invite you to join our program.


Once selected, you will work with us for 3 months (or 6 if the project calls for it), beginning in September 2017. But don’t worry: we won’t leave you alone to fly or die in the pilot – you’ll have access to all the necessary resources at IE and the full support of the Learning Innovation team who not only will be your guide to IE but will also help you make your product better and more likely to succeed in the broader higher education market. Simply put, if you become an (ie) ROCKET, we’ll provide the fuel to launch you to the stars.


Oh, and of course, you’ll also get the full accelerator package: support from highly experienced mentors, space on IE´s campus in Madrid city center, and direct access to investors, all of which IE’s been providing successfully for over a decade. But unlike a typical accelerator, we won’t ask you for a fixed percentage of your equity; instead we can finance the project in exchange for a convertible note (or participation in the next financing series). And if our joint mission leaves us both hungry for more, we’re ready to partner up and invest in your business at the end of the program.

Why should you apply for ie ROCKETS?


Financed pilot at a leading institution

See your product in action with real users, obtain their feedback as well as feedback from other relevant departments (it’s not always users who pay for your product), and get bragging rights that will come in handy when you approach other potential educational clients.

Oh, and we’ll finance the project, too!


Street cred in the academic world

Aligning your product to the needs of higher education is only the first step. To successfully serve educational clients, you need to understand how academia works, its culture, its way of doing things. ie ROCKETS residency puts you right at the heart of a university so you leave the program speaking the language of academia.


Brand, brand, brand

As an ie ROCKET you automatically get a very respectable client on your roster and the international exposure through IE Area 31 (it’s IE’s long-standing entrepreneurship center). And if you do a particularly good job, we’ll actively promote your brand in our external communications and gladly serve as an enthusiastic reference for others.


A great accelerator package and more

A space to work, support from highly experienced mentors, access to IE’s amazing students and faculty, and an entrance to all of Area 31 events (venture days, pitch nights, startup specific trainings, investor and company events). And if that’s not enough, you’ll also get daily support from IE’s Learning Innovation department (that’s pedagogy innovators and the Tech Lab hackers).


Access to IE’s partner network

If the pilot is very successful, we will make introductions and sing your praises to our partner schools – a network of more than 100 universities in 30 countries.

Why is IE doing


We want to beat Elon Musk in his efforts to get humans to Mars.


OK, that’s not exactly true. But we do want to reinvent the way we teach at the higher education level so that our students (and those at other universities) can make a mission to Mars possible (or any other mission that the students hold dear to their hearts). A technology driven revolution in higher education is coming, and we want to lead the way.


But, just as you don’t send a rocket to space on your own, you don’t reinvent higher education without the support of others. IE has great assets to build upon: a long tradition of innovating the way universities work, a vast experience in incubating startups, an open mindset to taking chances on startups even in the largest of projects and a support structure to increase the odds of that project’s success. To make a real difference, though, we also need your disruptive ideas, your technological expertise, your passion and energy. We need YOU.

Who are we looking for?

People excited to reinvent higher education with us. People open to collaboration and eager to learn themselves. People with a mission and with a commercial mindset.


A startup that will benefit most from being part of the ie ROCKETS

has a working product, ideally with some traction already in other industries (or education, of course!);

wants to enter and/or rapidly scale up in the higher education market; and/or

needs a meaningful pilot in higher ed with a respectable institution and the necessary support to address the needs of academia.


We’re technology agnostic and open to any submissions (so don’t be shy to apply even if you don’t fit any of the below categories) but we thought you may want to learn about some of the areas where we see a need to innovate:

Collaborative learning

Today, professors are no longer the sole source of knowledge, and our students want to connect with their peers to learn both better and faster. We agree.

But how do you enable good social learning? How do you foster a community? How do you help students create an effective social network? How do you do it when students participate remotely? How do you measure the effects?

Personalized learning

No two students are alike and a blanket approach to a whole class is bound to leave some students confused, others bored, and most feeling shortchanged by their experience. How do you provide a personalized experience at scale? How do you continuously respond to student’s progress and preferences? How do you know reliably if the student is in her optimal learning zone? How can you offer data-driven individual support?

Learning analytics

Data can help us better understand – and teach – the students, improve our ability to assess their progress, and enhance any content, methodology or solution used in the teaching process. It can make teaching more efficient and more effective. But how do you collect data across all of the interactions with students? And what do you collect? How do you test new things? How do you accurately predict what’s going to happen next? How do you easily share insights with students, faculty, instructional designers, and others?

Learning delivery tools

Document sharing platforms are no longer (nor have ever been, really) sufficient to deliver an effective class. We need a host of engaging activities, from challenging quizzes to games, from forums to simulations.

How do we best build those activities for our students? And how do we give them access to the activities? How do we lead them (if at all) on their learning journey? How do we teach them competencies and values (instead of facts and technical skills only)? How do we do it all remotely?

Immersive learning

We learn better when we are deeply engaged, when we are wholly in the learning process, when we learn through all of the senses.

How can we best use VR / AR / MR to make the learning of professional skills better for our students? How do we provide it at scale? How can we do it synchronously and/or remotely? How else might we immerse our students in their learning?

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