Saxo founder Jørgen Balle Olesen talks EdTech.

Hello and welcome to another episode of ‘The Expert View’. Today we are visited by Jørgen Balle Olesen. Jørgen is the former founder and CEO of the Danish e-commerce bookstore Saxo.com, before he exited the business in 2019. Jørgen is Scale Capital’s Social Ambassador and has a wealth of experience in investing and scaling educational technology companies. Welcome, Jørgen.

Thank you, Terkel.

So Jørgen to start us off – what do you define as educational technology?

Well, it’s a very short name ‘EdTech’, but actually, it covers over a relatively complicated set of things. For instance, we can see it from like the value chain or lifespan perspective, where you have preschool education, you have the traditional K12, “Folkeskole” in Danish, you have ‘Gymnasium’ or High School, you have University education, and then later you have like corporate training. And perhaps even, when you get closer to the workspace, how to get involved with the actual working space, hiring, integrate the workspace — all this, this complication on one hand, and then on the other hand, you have market perspective, which is like the local markets versus emerging markets where you can — I mean — the local versus global perspective. And you also have a lot of different business models involved: sometimes you have like a b2c way of selling something, could be directly to a parent or to a student, or it could be traditional, what we in Denmark you know, have that governmental sale, in K12. area, or you have like the b2b game where it’s a corporate buying, for instance, courses for their employees. So there are a lot of different elements. So in reality, it’s a short name, but it’s a very complicated area.

There’s a lot of buzz going around the industry about ESG, impact and financial performance and whether they all go hand in hand. So I would say EdTech has an obvious impact angle, but it’s also an investable industry, or it is more of a nonprofit sphere?

You’ve been involved in a number of EdTech Companies. What are some of the trends and technologies that excite you the most in the industry?

So how do you measure performance and results in EdTech?

That’s very insightful. So in most countries, the education sector is primarily run by the government.

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Do you have any tips on how EdTech startups can effectively collaborate with governments that in many instances are a bit slow and bureaucratic?

So now, we’ve spoken a lot about education for younger children and students, but with the world migrating to new ways and structures of working, do you think EdTech will play a larger role than in corporate for training employees or other purposes?

That’s all been very, very insightful Jørgen, but that is it for this time on the Expert View. So Jørgen, as always, it’s been a pleasure. So thank you for joining.

ABOUT

Jørgen Balle Olesen

Jørgen Balle Olesen is a Scale Capital ESG advisor, and the founder of Saxo.com. Jørgen holds an MBA from Copenhagen Business School and is a prominent impact and edtech investor.

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