The 10 Most Innovative Companies in Education

From LinkedIn to Inigral, these companies are revolutionizing how we teach and how we learn. These ten companies made our Most Innovative Companies list for Education.



01 / NYU

For opening up a second campus in Abu Dhabi. There, NYU is shepherding the most successful and ambitious attempt yet to export overseas a full-fledged American liberal arts university.

02 / LinkedIn >>

For developing LinkedIn’s Career Explorer, which offers users career path recommendations that are tailored to their interests and based on the real paths of professionals with similar profiles. CEO Reid Hoffman is also actively involved in the national conversations surrounding the future of education, and envisions his company as a 21st century diploma.

03 / Khan Academy


For building a collection of more than 1,800 short, simple video lectures and chalkboard demos that cover everything from math to physics to economics. The brain behind these web tutorials: Sal Khan, a 33-year-old Harvard MBA who developed the project out of his closet. Now, with Gates Foundation funding, he’s taking his adaptive learning system to classrooms.

04 / Discovery Education

For leading the way in the digital learning movement by making video-based content that reaches more than half of all U.S. schools, including 1 million teachers and 35 million students. The company developing digital math and science curricula for public school students in Chicago and Detroit.

05 / Togetherville

For creating a social network built on top of Facebook for kids, families, and teachers that allows them to express their thoughts on educational issues. Roughly 90,000 U.S. schools are already included in its database.


06 / Autodesk Sustainability Workshop

For teaching mechanical engineers (for free) the principles behind sustainable design. The workshop is the brainchild of designer Dawn Danby, who has worked on furniture, urban planning, and retail systems projects.

07 / OpenStudy

For building a social learning network where students can ask questions, offer help, and connect with other students studying similar topics. Its mission is to make the world one large study group, regardless of students’ locations or backgrounds.

08 / Irynsoft


For providing the first basic mobile platform that allows users to take a course on their iPhone. It has already been adopted by MIT Open CourseWare.

09 / Straighterline

For developing an online for-profit college where the first year costs $999.

10 / Inigral

For creating Facebook apps that help students stay in college by connecting them to a community of students who share their interests. Inigral also received the first-ever venture investment from the Gates Foundation.


About the author

Anya Kamenetz is the author of Generation Debt (Riverhead, 2006) and DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, (Chelsea Green, 2010). Her 2011 ebook The Edupunks’ Guide was funded by the Gates Foundation