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SkySong helps e-learning company grow up and out

March 09, 2010

In a vivid example of how the SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, can help companies grow and thrive, Adaptive Curriculum has transformed from a small “incubator” company to a thriving business that will now lease more than 14,000 square feet of commercial space in the project.

An award-winning developer of math and science e-learning solutions for middle schools and high schools, Adaptive Curriculum also recently hired Jim Bowler as its new chief executive officer to help the company manage this dramatic expansion. It will occupy the third-largest office space at SkySong and plans to triple the number of employees in its new offices over the next two years.

It’s an impressive success story for a company that came to ASU SkySong just three years ago with two employees occupying a couple of cubicles on the second floor of Building I. That particular space is reserved for start-up firms looking to accelerate their growth through the resources and connections ASU SkySong provides to the university.

Adaptive Curriculum's chairman and founder Ahmet Eti credits this synergy and knowledge gained from ASU SkySong as a critical component in its progress over the past few years.

The relationship with Adaptive Curriculum began in February of 2007, under the guidance and stewardship of ASU President Michael M. Crow. Crow helped convince Eti, chairman of Adaptive Curriculum's parent company, Turkish conglomerate Sebit, LLC, to bring the company to ASU SkySong as a gateway into the U.S. market. ASU SkySong provided connections to ASU that helped Adaptive Curriculum modify its products for U.S. educational customers, as well as business development connections that directly helped drive sales.

“What began as a simple discussion between Ahmet and me has now grown into a truly remarkable success story for Adaptive Curriculum, Sebit, ASU and SkySong,” Crow said. “This is exactly how we envisioned the SkySong concept working as an economic development engine that supports and encourages innovation and entrepreneurship on a global scale.”

Sharon Harper, president and chief executive officer of Plaza Companies, one of the co-developers of the project, also pointed to Adaptive Curriculum as proof of the viability of the SkySong concept.

“When we started working on SkySong we had a vision where companies from around the world would come to the project and use its spirit of innovation and technology to grow their businesses,” Harper said. “Adaptive Curriculum might be the best example we’ve had to date of a company coming to SkySong, taking full advantage of its resources and maturing to the point where it will now boost the area’s economy and create jobs.”

Higgins Development Partners and Plaza Companies are co-developers of the project in partnership with the ASU Foundation and USAA Real Estate Company.

The addition of Bowler as Adaptive Curriculum’s new chief executive officer brings more than 25 years of education and technology experience to the company. He will oversee the growth of the company as well as the design and transition into the new space. Prior to joining Adaptive Curriculum, Bowler held chief executive officer positions at Epsilen, a global learning system company, and at Harcourt Connected Learning, an online professional development company.

“We envision our new space in SkySong to include a showcase classroom for educators to learn and develop their teaching skills and Jim’s experience both in the industry and as school administrator will greatly benefit our vision,” Eti said. “SkySong has been a great partner and we look forward to expanding our relationship.”

Bowler will be in charge of leading the company into the next stage of its development and growth as it expands its work force and presence in the United States. 

“The core company belief that every student can learn math and science is what attracted me to Adaptive Curriculum,” Bowler said. “This unique facility at SkySong will showcase our commitment to meeting the needs of digital age learners who want and need high quality interactive math and science content.”