Thoughts

How I Became an EdTech VC

Michelle Dervan, Principal at ReThink EducationBeing on the front lines of the startup world, I am frequently asked the same question in several different forms; but they are all essentially a derivative of the overarching theme: how did you become a venture capitalist? As I near my one-year anniversary of joining ReThink Education as Principal tasked with discovering and vetting new investment opportunities, I wanted to take a moment to discuss how I got here. There is no singular, direct path to joining a venture firm, and my story is unique, just as the case would be for most VCs…

Read on...

Impact Investing is Losing Itself

From Rick Segal, Chairman of ReThinkImpact Investing has spent the last decade or two operating on the fringes of mainstream investment, with a total market cap of about $60 billion. In the last few years it caught Wall Street’s attention. Major banks began indulging the idea of putting impact products on their platforms to meet with investor demand, dangling the promise of previously-unthinkable growth, which the Global Impact Investing Network estimates could climb as high as $2 trillion. But that offer came with a caveat: Impact needed to learn how to more clearly codify its outputs. Wall Street, if nothing else,…

Read on...

Meekerpalooza 2017: How shifts in Internet usage continue to transform the education landscape

May 31st marked the annual release of one of the tech industry’s true temperature takers: Mary Meeker’s report on global Internet trends (this year’s presentation checks in at a robust 355 pages). Mary is a partner at Kleiner Perkins, one of the most elite venture capital firms in the world, and her insights on web developments are generally as respected as they come. Since 1995, her report on Internet trends has been the gold standard in gauging real world tech development (and cutting through the fluff of opinion and theory), leading some to even call it the “virtual bible for…

Read on...

A Bridge to the Great American Divide

Rethink Partner Michael Walden opens the conferenceOn March 28th, on a wet and windy New York afternoon, Rethink Education hosted its Fourth Annual Summit at @BlueHillFarms. When we first launched this gathering, it was our goal to bring together limited partners, portfolio companies, and friends from the education world to share experiences and ideas. Each year we have attempted to challenge ourselves and our collaborators to deepen our thinking about the most urgent issues in education. The Fourth Summit, which we dubbed “Education: A Bridge to the Great American Divide,” focused on some of the troubling questions raised during the…

Read on...

International Women’s Day

By Michelle Dervan, Principal, Rethink EducationInternational Women’s Day is a chance to pause and recognize the immense contributions that women make to our society, economy and communities. In few places is this felt as greatly as in our education system where the majority of teachers and educators are women. Today is a chance to thank them for their work.Today is also an opportunity to reflect on the pressing gender equality challenges facing us. Despite the high proportion of educators who are women, there is still a significant lack of gender diversity among the people who found and lead education technology companies…

Read on...

Meet the Rethink Education Fellows

By Michelle Dervan, Principal, Rethink EducationWe recently launched a Graduate Fellowship Program with the aim of providing students from diverse backgrounds with a way to gain hands-on experience in ed-tech and impact investing. Three Graduate Fellows joined our team in November and are working with us on sourcing, diligence and advisory services for portfolio companies. Each of the Fellows is deeply passionate about education and brings a unique perspective and expertise, which in a short period of time has added great value to our team. Some highlights of their professional experiences include:Glenn Reese is an MBA student at Cornell Tech…

Read on...

Education Innovation in 2017:

A Few Speculations from Rethink EducationMatthew Greenfield and Michelle DervanOur vision of the future is fuzzier than usual. A cloud of uncertainty and anxiety is blurring our vision. But our values at Rethink Education have never been clearer. We believe that education is the core of democracy. Our mission is to improve education for everyone, but especially for those who are most vulnerable, including the poor, those who experience discrimination, those who are cognitively or physically different, and, in the United States, those who are not yet fluent in English. We want to help prepare people for success in their lives…

Read on...

What We Are Looking For

Posted by Rethink EducationWe are looking for educational technology companies that have thepotential to be transformative. We are looking for big ideas. We want toimprove the way people learn and the way they teach.We are looking for companies with well-designed business models: businessmodels that are efficient, low-cost, scalable, and defensible againstcompetitors.We want entrepreneurs who are passionate about their projects.We are looking for companies with validated, research-based approaches tothe problems they solve. Anyone talking about learning styles andmultiple intelligences urgently needs to read this book.We admire simplicity, clarity, and elegance.We believe in the Common Core.We believe that the cost of college education must come down.We…

Read on...

Innovation Ecosystems: The Role of Impact Investing

Guest Post by Matt Greenfield for the EdWeek Blog: Vander Ark on Innovation, June 2014.I am going to approach this topic in an oblique manner; bear with me. In the late eighties I was the youngest employee of ABS Ventures, which at the time was affiliated with Alex. Brown and Sons, a tech-oriented investment bank now owned by Deutsche Bank. This was before Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley came to dominate technology investment banking, and the valley was ruled by boutique firms. Alex. Brown was one of the four tech IPO leaders. The other three, Hambrecht and Quist, Montgomery Securities, and…

Read on...

What Do We Do Now?

Posted by the Rethink Education Team on November 16, 2016We like to think that the arc of the moral universe is steadily bent, as if with pliers, towards progress. In reality, it is shaped more by a hammer. Blow by tiny blow. Through blood, through sweat, through toil. Not every hit is true. Not every whack bends it the right way. But hit it hard enough and long enough, with a purpose, and it will bend toward justice. We continue to hold that belief.So here is what Rethink Education will do…We are going to button our shirts and go to work. Come together…

Read on...

Rethink on Medium