SAN FRANCISCO, May 1, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Zynga.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to using social games for social good, today announced a partnership with NewSchools Venture Fund, a venture philanthropy that supports education entrepreneurs to transform public education, to create a new "ed tech" accelerator focused on enhancing the quality and reach of learning games and apps designed to improve education outcomes. Zynga Inc. (Nasdaq:ZNGA), the world's leading provider of social game services, will host the accelerator at its San Francisco headquarters, providing the participating companies with work space at its office.
Zynga will encourage its employees to volunteer and collaborate with the companies participating in the accelerator's first cohort – sharing their expertise in areas such as game design, testing, analytics, product marketing and distribution. In addition to access to the Zynga team, Zynga.org has agreed to commit $1 million in funding for the accelerator's first year.
"We're excited about the learning potential of games," said Ken Weber, Executive Director, Zynga.org. "Through the efforts of Zynga.org, we've shown that social games can impact peoples' lives for the better, and we're honored to collaborate with NewSchools, a proven leader in the education technology space, on this accelerator. We want to help entrepreneurs create high quality, scalable learning games that will enhance learning experiences for all 21st century students."
"We're proud to partner with Zynga.org on this project, which brings together the world's leader in social gaming, the top K-12 education impact investor and an initial cohort of all-star entrepreneurs," said Ted Mitchell, CEO, NewSchools. "Together, we are excited to push the boundaries of how students learn through educational games."
Zynga.org and NewSchools have selected a handful of emerging ed tech companies to join the accelerator's first cohort, which will officially kick off this summer. The companies – Kidaptive, LocoMotiveLabs and Motion Math – all have launched learning games and apps that have gained strong initial traction in the marketplace. The cohort will also include Edmodo, the world's largest social learning platform for education, as a charter partner. Edmodo helps more than 19 million educators and learners connect and share resources, including apps and games.
"Zynga and NewSchools are creating the perfect environment to take educational gaming to the next level," said P.J. Gunsagar, Co-Founder and CEO, Kidaptive. "This collaboration of educators, game designers, and technologists has the potential to transform the way we motivate and teach kids. We at Kidaptive are thrilled and honored to be a part of the Zynga NewSchools accelerator and are excited to support the mission of improving educational outcomes for all kids."
During NewSchools 2013 Summit today, John Doerr, General Partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, will moderate a panel with Zynga Founder and CEO Mark Pincus and Coursera Co-Founder Andrew Ng, discussing the new accelerator and other exciting developments in ed tech.
Zynga.org is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring people to live, play and learn through social games. Zynga.org works closely with Zynga Inc., the world's largest provider of social game services, which has engaged more than one million game players in social impact through content and campaigns integrated into games. In addition, Zynga.org works with other game developers to leverage games to raise awareness and funds for nonprofits. Zynga.org recently collaborated with Games for Change to produce Half the Sky: The Game, which launched in March 2013. To date, Zynga.org has developed more than 100 in-game campaigns, raising more than $15M for nonprofit organizations worldwide. Zynga.org is the cofounder of a new learning games accelerator with NewSchools Venture Fund. Learn more at www.zynga.org
About Zynga Inc.
Zynga Inc. (Nasdaq:ZNGA) is the world's leading provider of social game services with 253 million monthly active users playing its games, which include Zynga Poker, Words With Friends, Scramble With Friends, Gems With Friends, Draw Something, FarmVille 2, ChefVille, CityVille, Bubble Safari and Ruby Blast. Zynga's games are available on a number of global platforms, including Facebook, Zynga.com, Google+, Apple iOS and Google Android. Zynga is headquartered in San Francisco, California. Learn more about Zynga at http://blog.zynga.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
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NewSchools Venture Fund is a not-for-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs in creating innovative ways to improve K-12 public education. We blend the best of philanthropy and capital markets to ensure an excellent education is available to every child. We actively share what we've learned through our investments, bring together educational leaders from across the country, and advocate for smart policies at the federal level. Learn more at http://www.newschools.org.