By Jennifer Carolan

Today, Reach Capital, the education technology VC firm I co-founded with Shauntel, Wayee & Esteban, launched our third fund. At $165 million, it’s more than double our previous fund. But it’s not the size of the fund that matters. It’s the aspiration.

Since our inception, we’ve set out to do two things well: to deliver excellent financial returns by building excellent companies, and to deliver a benefit to society by backing companies that help people improve their lives through learning. …

by Jennifer Carolan

Guido, Felipe, Emi — Founders of Nearpod

Today, Renaissance Learning’s acquisition of Nearpod for $650M was finalized. It’s a huge validation for Guido, Felipe and Emi, three friends who built one of the most beloved and widely used products in education.

From the start, Guido and team did things differently, shaking up the stagnant curriculum industry where deals got done over expensive dinners and teachers paid the price with inferior products. With a product-forward approach, Nearpod pioneered a series of innovations in sales, content and go-to-market that forever changed the industry.

Nearpod won the hearts of teachers and defied the old narrative that districts…

by Jennifer Carolan

Reach is investing in Sketchy’s $30M round led by TCG. Sketchy fits neatly into our digital curriculum thesis: bottoms-up, freemium, digital curriculums based on timeless pedagogy that wins the hearts of users. Our investments in Mystery Science, Newsela, Nearpod, and Desmos are other examples of this thesis at work.

Sketchy was founded by medical students Saud Siddiqui, Andrew Berg, Bryan Lemieux and Aaron Lemieux who wanted a better way to learn the vast amount of content needed to prepare for their careers as physicians. …

by Wayee Chu

Today, I am privileged to announce the promotion of James Kim to Principal at Reach Capital. From the minute I met James in 2018 during an interview for our Associate role, I knew James was a standout candidate. What resonated deeply for me was his life journey to date, overcoming personal odds and defying external expectations, even those set by his own family, which is testament to the bold and principled approach in how James has paved his own path forward.

Throughout James’ academic and professional pursuits, he has exemplified a commitment to equity in education. As…

by Jennifer Carolan

In 2020, the year that challenged us with the largest racial justice protests in our country’s history, the top high school in New York City Public Schools, Stuyvesant, admitted just ten Black students out of a freshman class of 760. Black students comprise 25 percent of the district’s population.

This is not a New York City Public Schools problem, but the result of a national school system deeply rooted with decades of structural racism including within-school tracking (e.g. …

By James Kim (Reach Capital) and Alberto Arenaza (Transcend Network)

This blog post provides a high-level narrative and overview of higher education trends and the Work-Integrated Learning space. For a deep dive into our analysis, including specific investment theses, please view our full report here.

For decades, “higher education” was synonymous with career advancement. Higher education represented a platform for socioeconomic mobility, growth, and employment opportunity. Enrollment peaked in 2010, with over 21 million students at degree-granting institutions in the US alone.

But ten years later, higher education is under unprecedented pressure. Only 38% of students who graduated from college…

by Jennifer Carolan

Get Ready for a Teacher Shortage Like We’ve Never Seen Before.” The New York Times is right — it’s happening. A school district outside of Phoenix canceled classes on Monday because they didn’t have enough teachers to staff the classrooms. Utah teachers are resigning in droves, and a New Jersey superintendent recently said “schools will be brought to their knees with staffing needs.”

Our public schools have operated in a precarious, neglected state for decades. Like so many of our underinvested institutions, COVID-19 has pulled back the veil on a crumbling system whose cracks have deepened into…

Our current crisis highlights why we invest for impact

by Jen Wu

The team at Reach Capital has been investing for educational impact for over 11 years. We make bold bets on founders who tackle challenges that are among the most pressing of our times, e.g. economic and education inequality, staying relevant in a rapidly-changing economy, and trauma and mental health. The global pandemic has exposed and amplified these pre-existing challenges like never before. What we believed were forward-looking bets at the time, turned into an urgent here-and-now, as demand for these solutions moved beyond early adopters to the global masses overnight.

This dynamic we’re witnessing confirms why we…

by Taylor Stockton, Reach Fellow and Shauntel Garvey

Reach’s interest in the middle skills sector initially emerged from our broader focus on career pathways. But as we now grapple with the disproportionate impact of the COVID crisis on frontline workers, questions around accessible pathways to middle skills jobs (those that require more education than a high school diploma, but less than a four year bachelor’s degree) have been given new meaning and importance.

Over the course of only two months, over 35 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment, and tens of millions more saw lost hours or income. As…

Chian Gong is being promoted to Partner at Reach Capital. She is the first investment partner we’ve added since we began working together in 2011. She will join Jennifer, Shauntel, Esteban and Wayee on the investment team.

Chian first joined our team during the summer of 2014 when she interned while finishing her MBA/MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School and Wharton. She was so exceptional that summer that we were ready to hire her on the spot; her graduation couldn’t come soon enough.

Fortunately for us, Chian returned to Reach in January of 2016. She has been the type of colleague…

Reach Capital

Closing the Opportunity Gap. Empowering educators and families. Inspiring children.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store