I was reading The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank last week. This book has interesting insights into the strategy adopted by RedHat to capture the enterprise market in Linux. Before RedHat took up the challenge of taking an open source software to corporations, the open source software business was a commodity market. But RedHat’s strategy of offering professional support services turned the game in its favor and the company created a new market and perched itself on the top.
A similar venture, rSmart, has attracted $10.75 Million in VC funding last week. rSmart is in the business of helping Universities select, implement, and run open source products like Sakai and Kauli. Universities are known for their messy legacy systems and are often short of funds to make major investments in “enterprise” grade products. rSmart provides a range of support services for these open source tools very much similar to what RedHat does for Linux.
Here is one more example of ingenuity to improve on products and platforms already available in the education market. Educreations received a $2.2M funding recently. The have built an app that captures and records everything on the iPad, including voice and handwriting to create video lessons that can be shared online with a class or distributed online. The growth in the usage of iPad in the education market has spawned thousands of free and paid education apps, but providing a tool for teachers to use iPads as a whiteboard and make it available through any device or browser takes the innovation a step forward.