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Where are K-12 Edtech Venture Backed Startups Based?

This is the first post in a series to spotlight trends in K-12 edtech venture funding data.Advantageous location of a startup is no substitute for a great product or entrepreneur, but it may increase the odds of success. In edtech, early success for a startup often hinges on access to talent, early-stage funding, high-quality accelerators, research partnerships and innovation-friendly school districts.According to year-to-date K-12 edtech venture funding data provided by EdSurge, the […] Read more

Investment Approaches of the Seed Fund- Part II

Last week I shared some of our thinking behind our investments in STEM, relevance and communication, found here. With this post, I’ll share our approach for investing in special education and english language learning.Specialized Tools Can Better Reach Children Outside of the Mainstream While traditional venture capital has backed consumer-oriented english language learning tools like Rosetta Stone, Livemocha and more recently, mobile apps like Duolingo, we take a very different approach. We target tools for […] Read more

Investment Approaches of the Seed Fund- Part I

Our Seed Fund supports high potential entrepreneurs developing technology solutions for the biggest challenges in K-12 education. We look for areas where the power of technology can improve our education system and its ability to maximize the learning potential of every child. We borrow our approach from venture capital¹ in that we develop investment theses informed by listening to educators, researching technology trends, studying student achievement data, and listening closely to the […] Read more

Sparking Student Interest in STEM By Bringing Industry Experts into the Classroom

I vividly remember scouring my bathroom and kitchen cabinets to identify chemicals in the products I used everyday. Sure enough the chemical formulas I was learning to write in chemistry class were listed as ingredients in my toothpaste, shampoo, and laundry detergent. I was fascinated that chemistry had real world application and was inspired to become a chemical engineer at Procter and Gamble. According to a Microsoft STEM Perceptions Study, 57% of boys and 68% of girls who chose a career in science technology engineering and math (STEM) had a teacher or class that sparked their interest. Read more

NewSchools Invests in Accelerator to Elevate Leaders of Color

It is often stated that education is the civil rights issue of our time. While there are many aspects related to equity in education that need to be addressed, a particular area of concern for NewSchools is the lack of racial diversity in leadership roles representing the very communities we serve. In a step toward change, NewSchools is pleased to be working with Carmita Vaughan on a leadership accelerator to identify, train and provide career counsel to emerging leaders of color in the education reform movement. Read more

Beyond Data to Insights and Action

“Big Data” has become a buzzword within edtech circles and learning analytics is a Top Edtech Trend driven in part by increased accountability. However, the overwhelming amount of education data can often be inaccessible to those that need it most, educators and school leaders. This may be the reason that only 50% of administrators surveyed by the Center for Digital Education see improved student outcomes from the use of big data. Read more

Refuting Peter Buffett’s ‘New Code’

So, what should we make of Peter Buffett’s op-ed against “The Charitable-Industrial Complex”? I’ll confess I’m confused by his argument. Buffett begins by railing against something he calls “Philanthropic Colonialism,” which he describes as the hobby of philanthropists who want to improve the world by meddling with farming methods, education practices, or job training. There’s a legitimate argument to be made about how misguided philanthropic endeavors in local communities can go awry (and Buffet is hardly the first to make it). Read more

Startups Should Prioritize Sustainability over Fundraising

Startup guru and author of The Startup Owner’s Manual, Steve Blank wrote a great blog post this week on raising money titled “Fund raising is a means not an end” and I couldn’t agree more. I worry about this increased focus on raising money over building a sustainable business – for both for-profits and not for profits. The education-oriented endeavors are particularly at risk due to less scrutiny of their business models […] Read more