$100 million from the Gates Foundation, InBloom has faded into the night. In brief terms, InBloom was designed to wharehouse and store student data for public school systems which in turn can streamline how teachers and administrators accessed student records. The system was meant to extract student data from disparate school grading and attendance databases, store it in the cloud and funnel it to dashboards where teachers might more effectively track the progress of individual students.
According to the New York Times story, the environment, particularly regarding privacy and security, isn't ready for what InBloom had to offer. I recognize that the message grantmakers have been giving in recent years is that there is much to be learned from failure (so it's ok -- especially if the source of the money has really deep pockets) but $100 million to learn this lesson? And which should come first: the investment in figuring out the solution, or figuring out the demand?
This of course raises the question, did the InBloom board really fulfill its fiduciary responsibility using the process it used? And yes, I know, I'm the armchair quarterback offering my own opinion on what InBloom has done (or not) but this of course is the job of a blogger. What's your opinion: good investment; good board; good learning?