NewSchools Venture Fund was created in 1998 by social entrepreneur Kim Smith and venture capitalists John Doerr and Brook Byers. Each had witnessed the impact of visionary entrepreneurs to create dramatic change in other sectors, such as technology.
NewSchools’ founders believed that innovative teams of educators, innovators and education entrepreneurs could similarly bring about much-needed change in public education if they had access to both early-stage capital and strategic, hands-on support to start and grow their organizations. NewSchools Venture Fund was built to enable a new type of capital market that could support the development of entrepreneurial ventures serving all children—especially those in underserved communities— within public education.
Since 1998, we’ve invested nearly $345 million in over one thousand education innovators. Historically, we have invested in schools, tools, and people. We launched a new strategy in 2015 and committed to investing in three, more defined areas: innovative public schools, diverse leaders, and education technology. Our ventures have started new public schools that serve 50,000 students at full enrollment, implemented new models at existing schools that serve 100,000 students, created education technologies reaching more than 46 million students and teachers, and worked to close the racial leadership gap serving 15,000 Black and Latino educators and leaders.
Innovative Public Schools and School Redesign
Today, we invest in innovative public schools across the nation, and our current area of focus is innovative district and charter schools—both new schools and existing schools interested in redesign. We support models designed to help students develop a strong academic foundation along with other mindsets, habits and skills they need for success in life.
NewSchools’ work to support digital learning tools began at our inception in 1998. Today, we invest in education technology that increases the availability and effectiveness of products that deepen and enrich student learning. These tools are developed by companies and nonprofits creating innovative products to help address the most pressing needs identified by teachers and students.
From the very beginning, talent development has been a critical area of investment and management assistance at NewSchools. The recruitment, training and development of effective leaders and teachers is essential for reimagining education. Through a handful of initial exploratory investments in organizations focused on preparing and supporting Black and Latino leaders, we learned about the robust research into the benefits of diverse leadership to organizations in every industry.