2021
Annual Impact Report

Download Report

96,895,325

Total learners reached in 2021

23,671,825

Total low-income learners reached in 2021

We invest in people, ideas, and companies that rethink the way we learn and teach.

We support mission-driven founders willing to tackle the hard problems — to challenge the status quo and transform educational outcomes for all learners.
Matt Greenfield
Andre Bennin
Michael Walden
Ebony Brown
Amanda Beaudoin
Bridget Duru

Our Values

Why We Do This Work

We want to help people reach their full human potential and to thrive as workers, citizens, and family members.

We want to provide new opportunities to the poor, to members of an increasingly vulnerable middle class, to the illiterate, to the imprisoned, to those who struggle with a cognitive difference like autism or ADHD, and to those who face discrimination and persecution.

1

Second, we want to transform learning for everyone, both rich and poor.

We believe that educational institutions, processes, and tools around the world are broken. Billions of people suffer and fail to achieve their potential because they are taught in the wrong way; our learning tools and institutions are hierarchical, rigid, and unidirectional. Abundant research demonstrates that what works is the opposite approach: people learn best through personalized, collaborative, self-paced exploration linked to their own interests and passions.

2

Third, we want to make our own firm, our portfolio companies, and the society they serve more humane, more just, more equitable, and more inclusive.

We practice empathy and believe that empathy is a crucial business skill for us and for the entrepreneurs we back. We believe that a strong social mission is a powerful business advantage that attracts talent and helps reduce risk.

3

First, we want to help people reach their full human potential 
and thrive as workers, citizens, and family members.

We want to provide new opportunities to those that are low-income, to members of an increasingly vulnerable middle class, to the illiterate, to the incarcerated, to those who struggle with a cognitive difference like autism or ADHD, and to those who face discrimination and persecution.

1

Second, we want to help transform learning for everyone, regardless of economic status.

We believe that educational institutions, processes, and tools around the world are broken. Billions of people suffer and fail to achieve their potential because of subpar pedagogy; our learning tools and institutions are hierarchical, rigid, and unidirectional. Abundant research demonstrates that the opposite approach is what works: people learn best through personalized, collaborative, self-paced exploration linked to their own interests and passions.

2

Third, we are working to make our firm, our portfolio, and the 
society they serve more humane, more just, more equitable, 
and more inclusive.

We practice empathy and believe that empathy is a crucial business skill for us and for the entrepreneurs we back. We believe that a strong social mission is a powerful business advantage that attracts talent and helps reduce risk.

3

prioritizing diversity three layers deep

Our mission is to expand opportunities for education and career progression to populations that are overlooked and underserved. Increasing access and representation is at the core of this mission. We approach this core aspect of our mission on three different levels: our own team, the teams of the startups we invest in, and the people served by those startups. These three levels are connected to each other, and we believe it would be hard to pursue our mission without continual effort on all three levels. We don’t believe that one can use investment as a tool to make the world a more just, more equitable, more inclusive place if one starts with a non-diverse investment team or a non-diverse group of entrepreneurs.

Kameale TerryCo-Founder & CEO

ChargerHelp! is a distributed workforce for electric vehicle charger maintenance across the US. McKinsey estimates that by 2030, 13 million EV charge stations will need to be deployed to meet demand in the US alone, requiring $11 billion in capital investment. Yet, as of March 2021, the US Department of Energy reported that only 100,000 public chargers are deployed across the county.

Ronnie Kwesi Coleman - CEO & Co-Founder

Meaningful Gigs is a marketplace to connect designers in Africa to remote work at US enterprises. There are 40 million+ people in Africa with transferable digital skills including graphic design, digital literacy, & web development, yet there is a lack of available opportunities for this talent in their home countries. Meaningful Gigs assesses, trains, and matches designers for and to jobs in the US while also facilitating payments and project management. On the enterprise side, Meaningful Gigs allows customers to connect with the vetted pool of African designers and facilitate hires in under one week. Meaningful Gigs is working to empower African designers by using data to guide them to their full potential. The company hopes to create 100,000 skilled jobs and $1bn of wealth for Africans by 2028.

Catalina Kaiyoorawongs- CEO & Co-Founder
Ivan Herndon - CTO & Co-Founder

LoanSense expands homeownership by helping borrowers become mortgage ready. Student debt is the #1 barrier to homeownership and wealth building for those under 45. Student loans defer home ownership by 5 years. Black Americans borrow more for the same degrees, and the debt issue directly contributes to home access inequality. Loansense’s technology plugs into fintech and lending tech platforms for student loan borrowers to lower student debt payments, thus increasing people’s home buying budgets. Loansense also offers a consumer dashboard to track and learn about loan options, a digitalized training program to educate loan offices about student loan impact on debt-to-income, digital courseware for borrowers on all types of financial education topics, and more.

Chris Motley - CEO & Founder

Mentor Spaces is a mentorship community for underrepresented talent. Black and Latinx early career professionals often lack the confidence and social capital to successfully navigate their career paths, and employers find it hard to attract, engage, and retain underrepresented talent and underutilize employee resource groups. To solve this problem, Mentor Spaces built a mobile app to facilitate mentorship to help employers build a pipeline of diverse talent and to retain and engage that talent. The app allows for asynchronous communication via Q&A in career-interest based groups and live mentor sessions personalized to community members’ goals.

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Letter from THE team

Our view on impact investing

July 2022 marks the tenth anniversary of Rethink Education. It seems like a good moment to look back over this decade for patterns and lessons.

Our values have been extremely stable over 
this period. Everything starts with the question of whom we want to help: people who have been marginalized, oppressed, underserved, and ignored. This includes those of lower socio-economic status, those who have cognitively 
or physically different learning capabilities, 
the incarcerated, refugees and immigrants, 
and those who experience persecution for other reasons, including race, gender, and sexuality. Our goal has always been to unlock human potential and give people a chance to succeed and thrive at work, in private life, and in civic engagement.

Our vision of learning, both formal and informal, has also been stable. Abundant evidence shows that people learn best when they are engaged, delighted, listened to, and cared for, and not when they are judged, shamed, and asked to perform tasks that have no larger meaning for them. As our Managing Partner, Matt Greenfield, phrased it in a previous essay, education at every level should combine the joy and playfulness of preschool, the intense collaborative experiments of a hackathon, 
and the deep self-guided exploration of a doctoral thesis.

Our theory of change--of how we serve those values and that vision--has also been consistent. From the start, we were interested 
in systems change on a large scale, and we have been looking for catalysts that could transform institutions and communities. We have always been interested in tools and platforms that would allow people to learn in a kinder, more interesting, more effective, more inclusive manner. In addition, we have been interested 
in the development of human skills and tacit knowledge as well as facts and formulae.

One example of a continuity across the history of our fund is our interest in nudging and feedback loops. Abundant research shows that gentle occasional nudges can have a powerful effect on the progress and success of learners. Our first encounter with nudging was at Engrade, an LMS company that was acquired by McGraw Hill in 2014. An econometrician named Peter Bergman collaborated with Engrade to run a randomized controlled trial of the effectiveness of notifying parents via text message when students did not turn in an assignment on time. The trial demonstrated a meaningful improvement in grades.

We introduced the founders of Engrade to Joanna Smith of AllHere, which focuses on reducing K12 truancy and improving student engagement. The talented CTO of Engrade joined AllHere and built their platform, and 
Peter Bergman became an advisor to the company. But where Engrade developed a simple automated nudge, AllHere has deployed real conversational artificial intelligence. In effect, AllHere is turning schools into centaurs, hybrid creatures that are part human and part robot, with a seamless handoff from chatbot 
to human when required.

Our portfolio company Mainstay, whose primary focus is on student engagement and retention for colleges, also uses a research-informed approach to text messages and conversational AI. Mainstay has conducted an impressive total of nine randomized controlled trials. One of those trials, conducted with Common App, included 50,000 parents and 350,000 students, all first-generation college attendees or students from low-income families or historically resilient populations. We expect 
this trial to show the same dramatic results every other Mainstay trial has shown.

Other companies in our portfolio using chatbots include Upswing, Anthill, and Campus.org. 
The fundamental need is the same across 
K12 schools, colleges, and employers: students, parents, and employees feel disconnected, unheard, and lost. Similarly, the organizations 
are unaware of what their stakeholders are experiencing. Creating better feedback loops between organizations and their stakeholders 
is an urgent need. The feedback loops help learners to build knowledge and habits and make better decisions.

The handoff from Engrade to AllHere is an example of the compounding power of mission-oriented investing. AllHere would have been a phenomenal company without the connection, but the connection gave AllHere a rocket boost. It is worth noting that one key contribution to the success of Engrade was their hiring of 
a sales leader who had worked for WIreless Generation, the assessment and curriculum company now known as Amplify Education. 
Two of our fund’s founding partners, Rick Segal and Matt Greenfield, were first connected by their mutual investment in Amplify in 2000 
and 2006, respectively. The sale of Wireless Generation also gave Rick and Matt the capital used to become anchor investors in Rethink Education Fund I.

Another example of the compounding power 
of impact is the formation of the newer Rethink Capital Partners funds: Rethink Impact, which focuses on mission-oriented female and non-binary entrepreneurs; Rethink Food, which focuses on technology for better, more sustainable food; and Rethink Community, 
which focuses on catalytic real estate that 
can stabilize neighborhoods and strengthen communities.

We have now been around long enough that 
we can help answer another frequently-asked question: what happens to the mission of a social venture after it is acquired? We have 
now had 24 exits from our portfolio, 22 via acquisition and two via IPO. The bad news is 
that our experience shows that big companies often destroy the businesses they acquire. 
The good news is that we have seen almost no impact drift: when they prevail, the businesses we back continue to serve the same populations after their acquisitions. We try hard to invest only in companies whose social mission is hard-wired into their business models, and so far 
we have largely succeeded.

We at Rethink Education are profoundly grateful to all of the stakeholders who help 
us pursue our mission: the entrepreneurs and their teams; the communities of learners and teachers that use the products and services we back; the limited partners who not only 
give us capital but also help us think through problems and help keep us honest; and all of the other ecosystem participants who have chosen to help us and our portfolio companies. We look forward to the next decade of our mission, which we enter as a stronger, bolder, and more diverse firm than we have ever been.

Yours sincerely, Matt, Dre, Michael, Ebony, Amanda, & Bridget

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A Step Towards Equity

In 2020, the buildup of political and racial unrest boiled over when a police officer, who our country trusted to protect and serve, murdered George Floyd. Within venture capital, we reflected on the inequities in funding: of venture-backed startups in the U.S., 77% of founders are white, whereas only 1.8% are Latinx and 1% are Black.

The root cause of this imbalance is complex and this past year, our team has taken action on three fronts:

Rethink Education has earmarked $5mm from Rethink Education III to invest in seed stage companies launched by underrepresented people of color helping solve some of the toughest challenges from education to workforce development.

The team has coined this initiative RETHINK EQUITY, acknowledging that venture capital is hardly distributed on a level playing field.

While this initiative is new, Rethink Education’s track record of investing in diverse founders dates back to the firm’s inception in 2012. Currently, 12.5% of Rethink Education’s portfolio is founded and/or led by Black and Latinx CEOs.

We need more diversity among VC fund managers. Venture capital is one of the least diverse asset classes as far as investor representation. Just 1% of venture capitalists are Latinx and 3% are Black. In an industry where deals are facilitated by warm introductions, diverse founders are often outside of traditional early-stage capital networks, both angel and institutional.

Our team was thrilled to help Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), a leader in innovative instruction delivery, assign part of its endowment to investing in diverse fund managers as another frontier in addressing structural inequalities. In October 2020, SNHU’s board of directors led a Socially Responsible Investing Initiative and our team’s Matt Greenfield & Ebony Brown found and vetted the fund managers that presented to the board. SNHU ultimately invested $11mm across five African-American-led VC funds.

The Board of Directors has a powerful impact on how a company serves its end users. Yet, underrepresented ethnic & racial groups make up 40% of the U.S. population but just 12.5% of board directors.

At Rethink Education, we are taking action to ensure that the boards of our portfolio companies reflect the learners served. To that end, Rick Segal, Managing Partner, recently stepped down from his Board Director seat at APDS, to be replaced by Lawrence Bartley. APDS delivers education to incarcerated learners, many of whom are black and brown men, who are disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system. Bartley is Founder & Director of “News Inside” of the Marshall Project, an award-winning, nonpartisan news organization focused on criminal justice and has direct experience with the prison system, having been incarcerated at 17 years old and then serving 27 years. Rick's decision gives voting power to a leader who not only shares the racial identity of APDS’ learners but also deeply understands the correctional system.

Supporting Founders of Color

Rethink Education has earmarked $5mm from Rethink Education III to invest in underrepresented people of color helping solve some of the toughest challenges from education to workforce development. The team has coined this initiative Rethink Equity, acknowledging that venture capital is hardly distributed on a level playing field.

While this initiative is new, Rethink Education’s track record of investing in diverse founders dates back to the firm’s inception in 2012. Currently, 14% of Rethink Education’s portfolio is founded and/or led by Black and Latinx entrepreneurs.

Our 2022 Investment Theses

Communities of Trust and Care

Last year I wrote a blog post that discussed Rethink Education’s values, beliefs, and investment theses. Buried in the middle of that post was a sentence that I think distills our core beliefs in a helpful way. Here it is again, with slight modifications.

Matt Greenfield

Read our full 2022 Investment Theses here

"We believe that education at every level should combine the playfulness and joy of preschool, the intense collaborative experiments of a hackathon, and the deep self-guided exploration of a doctoral program."

“‘Progressive education’ is a widely-used term, but one that has perhaps curdled and passed its sell-by date.”

“There are sparks of joyful education everywhere in education systems and platforms around the globe, but however heroic the efforts of individual teachers and administrators and developers, the norm is still joyless.”

“Education tools need to integrate with the platforms people use to work and learn and play and maintain human connections.”

“Perhaps every learning activity ought to start with a ritual of detoxification, a ceremony of caring and trust.”

2021 PORTFOLIO

124,131
Total Students Reached

This number does not include companies that exited the portfolio prior to Fall 2020

$216 MILLION

Total cumulative dollars invested
$152,235
Total Dollars Invested

This number does not include companies that exited the portfolio prior to Fall 2020

96,895,325

Total learners reached in 2020
69
Total Portfolio Companies

Includes 9 companies with investments from multiple funds (AdmitHub, AllHere, Care Academy, Crehana, Ellevation, Kenzie Academy, NoRedInk, Pathstream, SVAcademy)

23,671,825

Total low-income learners reached in 2020
109,467
Total Low‑Income Students Reached

This number does not include companies that exited the portfolio prior to Fall 2020

64

Total portfolio companies
36%
% of Portfolio Companies with a female CEO/Founder
Industry Average is 9.2%

Diversity in U.S. Startups report by RateMyInvestor and Diversity VC. link
https://ratemyinvestor.com/diversity_report

35%

Portfolio companies with a female CEO/Co-Founder
15
Total Exit Transactions

Exit transactions include the public offering of 2U; cash acquisitions of Pathbrite by Cengage, Intellus by Macmillan, General Assembly and Course Report by Adecco Group, Neverware by Google, Rethink First by K1 Investment Management, and StraighterLine by BV Investment Partners; cash and stock acquisitions of Engrade by McGraw-Hill, Smarterer by Pluralsight, MissionU by WeWork, Flocabulary by Nearpod, Trilogy Education Services by 2U and Imbellus by Roblox; and stock acquisitions of Entangled by Guild Education.

RETHINK EDUCATION I

Vintage
2014
21
Companies

RETHINK EDUCATION II

Vintage
2016
25
Companies

RETHINK EDUCATION SEED

Vintage
2017
19
Companies

RETHINK EDUCATION III

Vintage
2019
13
Companies

OUR Portfolio

By Geography

Note: Data counts exclude one investment in an accelerator cohort
2021 Impact Outcomes

Things We Are Proud Of

In 2021, our portfolio companies made some major progress addressing urgent problems in education. Below are highlights from our current portfolio:

In 2021, our portfolio companies made some major progress addressing urgent problems in education. Below are highlights from our current portfolio:

High-quality on- & near-site early childcare 
at reduced cost through employee benefits

Vivvi opened to serve employees of New York Presbyterian within 3 weeks of NYC declaring a state of emergency in March 2020. 
In 2021, Vivvi continues to serve over 1,000 of those families and has achieved significant impact on both the parents and the children with parents reporting 77% less burnout and 41% increased safety and focus at work. 78% Vivvi students have achieved improved academic performance, 71% more confidence, and 65% strong relationships.

Allowing spanish-speaking creative industry freelancers to refine real-world skills through short online courses designed by global industry experts

Crehana empowered 5.5 million learners in 2021 to learn new skills and be better prepared for their careers. Through Crehana’s courses and content, it inspires students, with 88% reporting that Crehana has motivated them to achieve their goals. However, Crehana’s teachings expand beyond career-specific skills and into community and human skills, with 80% of students reporting increased self-confidence after completing Crehana courses.

Reducing student attrition and improving graduation rates in Higher Education

One notable case study in Civitas’s impact includes its work with Florida Atlantic University where the refined approach to student success allowed the school to more than double the four-year graduation rate to 48% in 2020 from just 19% in 2014, with most significant gains among historically underserved groups. For University of Central Oklahoma, Civitas’s partnership resulted in $1.2mm net tuition revenue saved and hundreds of additional students reaching their goals.

Rethinking technical education for the modern world through hackathons and fellowships to offer students real-world coding experience

Major League Hacking’s influence is far reaching, with MLH alumni making up 32% of all new programmers coming online each year 
in the US. MLH provides invaluable help for programmers to 
become career-ready, with 92% reporting they learn skills at MLH hackathons they cannot learn in a classroom. Additionally, MLH strives to diversify the programming field, with 75% of its US community identifying as BIPOC1 and 36% as women or non-binary.
1 Based on survey results from ~10% of the MLH community

Enabling formative assessment at scale

In 2021, Formative helped improve learning outcomes through formative assessment and feedback collection for 5.9 million students and empowered schools to more easily transition 
to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic due 
to the tech-driven nature of its assessment and data management capabilities.

Democratizing access to digital skills through accessible credentials branded by leading software companies

In 2021, Pathstream propelled students to new heights in their careers with 96.6% of Pathstream students achieving their career goals within 12 months. Pathstream also helped students expand their income with a median reported salary increase of $15,000 in 2021.

High-quality on- & near-site early childcare.

Vivvi opened to serve employees of New York Presbyterian within 3 weeks of NYC declaring a state of emergency in March 2020. 
In 2021, Vivvi continues to serve over 1,000 of those families and has achieved significant impact on both the parents and the children with parents reporting 77% less burnout and 41% increased safety and focus at work. 78% Vivvi students have achieved improved academic performance, 71% more confidence, and 65% strong relationships.

Rethinking technical education for the modern world.

Major League Hacking’s influence is far reaching, with MLH alumni making up 32% of all new programmers coming online each year 
in the US. MLH provides invaluable help for programmers to 
become career-ready, with 92% reporting they learn skills at MLH hackathons they cannot learn in a classroom. Additionally, MLH strives to diversify the programming field, with 75% of its US community identifying as BIPOC1 and 36% as women or non-binary.

Allowing spanish-speaking creative industry freelancers.

Crehana empowered 5.5 million learners in 2021 to learn new skills and be better prepared for their careers. Through Crehana’s courses and content, it inspires students, with 88% reporting that Crehana has motivated them to achieve their goals. However, Crehana’s teachings expand beyond career-specific skills and into community and human skills, with 80% of students reporting increased self-confidence after completing Crehana courses.

Enabling formative assessment at scale

In 2021, Formative helped improve learning outcomes through formative assessment and feedback collection for 5.9 million students and empowered schools to more easily transition 
to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic due 
to the tech-driven nature of its assessment and data management capabilities.

Reducing student attrition

One notable case study in Civitas’s impact includes its work with Florida Atlantic University where the refined approach to student success allowed the school to more than double the four-year graduation rate to 48% in 2020 from just 19% in 2014, with most significant gains among historically underserved groups. For University of Central Oklahoma, Civitas’s partnership resulted in $1.2mm net tuition revenue saved and hundreds of additional students reaching their goals.

Democratizing access to digital skills through accessible credentials branded by leading software companies

In 2021, Pathstream propelled students to new heights in their careers with 96.6% of Pathstream students achieving their career goals within 12 months. Pathstream also helped students expand their income with a median reported salary increase of $15,000 in 2021.

Case Studies & Interviews

The below highlights the breadth and depth of impact that our early- and growth-stage portfolio companies are having in the education sector.

Working in tandem with governments to dramatically improve the delivery of public education in emerging markets

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$2M+
students served across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia since 2009
1 Million
students currently served each school day
99th
centile learning gains, as measured by Nobel-Prize winning economist, Michael Kremer
Fund I
City
Nairobi
Year Founded 2007
Type of Evidence
Case Studies
Fund
RTE II
City
San Francisco, CA
Year Founded
2015
Type of Evidence
Company-provided case study
THE PROBLEM

The educational attainment gap between low and high income countries is no secret. Yet, so much rests on educational attainment in the post-pandemic world, with increasingly dire implications for citizens of countries where educational outcomes are negatively correlated to safety and general well being. 
It is widely understood that disrupted education adversely affects both learning outcomes and social and behavioral development of children. Furthermore, the U.N. states that “for millions of children around the world, school is not only a place to learn. 
It is a safe place, removed from violence…”

Yet, the U.N. estimates that, in 2018, some 
258 million children and youth were out of school, with 5.5 million more girls than boys out of school, and with far more pronounced retention challenges in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. In Pakistan, for example, primary schools saw just a 73.2% completion rate in 2019, compared to 98.53% in Spain, 98.7% in Peru, or 99.12% in Norway. Completion rates are just one factor in educational attainment, but give a strong indication of the educational landscape 
in an emerging market.

THE COMPANY

NewGlobe partners with governments in 
pursuit of more powerful and more sustainable educational delivery for public schools in emerging markets. Harnessing the power of data through their “Big Data Moat”, NewGlobe offers governments an integrated, tech-enabled learning ecosystem that is purpose-built for 
use in challenging school environments. The NewGlobe education management system makes use of a full-stack tech platform that covers the entire value chain of statewide school delivery. At the core of its model is a tablet-based learning management system 
for teachers that is optimized for sub-optimal infrastructure, and smartphones for administrators. Also included in the stack 
are: the capacity for mobile monitoring of learning delivery; gradebook and assessment modules; as well as modules that span the student, teacher and administrator lifecycle. Digital dashboards aid in the delivery of school management and learning outcomes.

THE IMPACT

With the understanding that the delivery and management of education systems within emerging economies involves high stakes for 
all parties, NewGlobe has chosen to build its model on a core of efficacy and research. 
Their educational delivery system was rigorously studied in a two-year Randomized Control 
Trial by 2019 Nobel Prize-winning economist, Professor Michael Kremer, who assessed NewGlobe’s effect on learning outcomes to be 0.81 to 1.35 SD. That number stands in contrast to 0.69 SD, which is the historical record for education interventions rigorously evaluated 
by randomized control trials at a large scale 
in emerging markets, and to 0.09 SD, which is 
the mean.

Using technology to expand access to professional development for existing and aspiring care and nursing professionals.

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90%
"of dementia training completers “confident” or “veryconfident” in ability to ensure the safety of a person with dementia outside the home"
60%
faster onboarding for agencies than traditional care training programs
89%
average test score on CareAcademy dementia-related exams
Fund
II & III
City
Boston, MA
Year Founded 2016
Type of Evidence
White paper
Fund
RTE II
City
San Francisco, CA
Year Founded
2015
Type of Evidence
Company-provided case study
THE PROBLEM

While worker shortages linked to The Great Resignation have been damaging to all sectors, shortages and skills gaps pose especially grave dangers in fields like nursing and home care. Any shortcoming in the availability or qualifications of trained professionals can mean the difference between comfort and suffering for countless elderly, ill, and highly vulnerable patients. Yet, to date, there have been few accessible resources available for those seeking to become certified or hone their skills in this profession. With the limited resources available, digital interconnectedness has not been part of that landscape. The result has been a highly siloed approach to training and upskilling care professionals, leading to sporadic and inconsistent quality of training (and ultimately of care) from one system to the next. The pandemic exacerbated the skills and worker gap, adding fuel to the proverbial fire of short-staffed care facilities. The shortage has continued to worsen in spite of a vast pool of prospective workers – including immigrants who already have experience working in their home countries as care providers – who have been unable to access good jobs in the care space simply because of difficulty accessing training programs.

THE COMPANY

CareAcademy is an online caregiver training platform that can be used by agencies to 
upskill and certify aspiring and existing care professionals, using a mobile-friendly platform with sound learning design and topically relevant content. Learners can build their skills base quickly and easily, and advance their specialized knowledge with continuing education and growth opportunities. At the same time, they can improve their earning potential by unlocking college credits for training completed in the CareAcademy platform.

THE IMPACT

For dementia patients and their caregivers, 
the value of staff who are trained, confident, and competent is immeasurable. Nonetheless, measuring the confidence and skill level of prospective dementia caretakers who had taken a CareAcademy course, for Adeosun 
and her team, felt like an important opportunity. People with dementia commonly display aggressive or challenging behaviors, meaning caretaker composure and skill in a dementia care environment is of the utmost importance. Much of that composure starts with confidence.

Getting this right has a far-reaching impact, benefiting the caregiver themselves, their agency employer, and ultimately the clients in their care.

Helen Adeosun, CareAcademy CEO and Founder

Using artificial intelligence and machine learning strengthen pathways for students to and through higher education..

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300M+
messages exchanged with 
5 million students at more than 200 institutions
15%
increase in average enrollment at HBCUs
27%
decrease in summer melt at HBCUs
Fund II & III
City
Boston, MA
Year Founded 2014
Type of Evidence
Randomized controlled trials (RCT)
Fund
RTE II
City
San Francisco, CA
Year Founded
2015
Type of Evidence
Company-provided case study
THE PROBLEM

Each year, around 20% of students who enroll in higher education do not end up attending in the fall, in a phenomenon widely referred 
to as “summer melt”. The problem is most acute for students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, those in urban areas, and among people headed to community college, where, a study cites, 
as many as 40% of prospective students 
are impacted. From failure to fill out requisite forms and pay outstanding balances, to inability to locate critical syllabus information or acquire course materials, the reasons students fall victim to summer melt are many, and they are complicated.  It also stands to reason that, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and given a difficult economic situation and the ripple effect of two years embroiled in sporadic lockdowns, mental health crises and beyond, the number of people impacted by this phenomenon is certainly on the rise.

THE COMPANY

Mainstay – formerly AdmitHub – is a leading tool for institutions to combat summer melt, using a campus-branded enrollment chatbot. Mainstay uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to facilitate the path to 
and through college, providing students 
with college and career guidance and support to combat both summer melt and dropouts. Mainstay recently extended its offering to employers, helping new hires navigate their journey to and within companies.

THE IMPACT
Enabling a more meaningful campus experience at community colleges and HBCUs

A new study shows that one of the biggest enablers of a successful transition into the fold of higher education and through to completion may be the strategic use of virtual student support in the form of text-based reminders, like those provided through the Mainstay chatbot. The study shows that community college students, for example, who receive targeted, personalized text messages from an AI chatbot like Mainstay are more likely to complete tasks related to enrollment and retention, while those who do not may be left to navigate bureaucracy and administration on their own.

Through Georgia State University’s randomized, controlled trials into chatbot-based interventions conducted during the 2020-2021 academic year, GSU messaged 11,000 students attending the Perimeter campus; a two-year college where approximately 70% of students are eligible for Pell Grants, and where 85% are working while enrolled.

To help provide a seamless teaching and learning experience.

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2.75M
subscribers, globally
758k
licenses for students in Alberta
400k+ Hrs
of K-12 instruction delivered
Fund I
City
Chicago, US
Aukland, NZ
Calgary, CAN
Year Founded 2007
Type of Evidence
Case Study
Fund
RTE II
City
San Francisco, CA
Year Founded
2015
Type of Evidence
Company-provided case study
THE PROBLEM

For decades, it has fallen to educators to curate what they have perceived to be the best digital teaching resources. Teachers often spend much of their time searching from a wide variety of open-source and proprietary content that helps them adhere to curriculum while differentiating instruction for learners. Classrooms, then, have become proving grounds for a “pick-and-mix” variety of tools and systems, and the burden placed on teachers to find differentiated resources for learners of all backgrounds and levels often detracts from their primary focus: teaching. The resulting landscape is one in which teachers are stretched thin and the consistency of educational delivery varies widely from school to school, let alone from district to district. The move to virtual instruction has, in many places, made that landscape even more chaotic.

THE COMPANY

Hāpara is a K-12 classroom management system that is built upon a cloud-based infrastructure, and is robust enough to deliver seamless and differentiated learning in both face-to-face and remote environments. 
The classroom ecosystem – built into a Chromebook environment – lets teachers and students access thousands of customizable and curriculum-aligned lessons and resources. Teachers access students’ work through Google Workspace, where they can offer timely formative feedback, and where they can check on the progress students are making and offer supportive feedback. Hāpara’s classroom management software lets teachers bring all of their Google Workspace tools, apps and resources into a mobile-friendly classroom workflow that – thanks to safeguarding tools – ensures students won’t be subjected to online distractions or threats. In short, Hāpara offers schools and districts the opportunity to move from an inconsistent approach to building and customizing curriculum, to a streamlined one in which schools have all the resources and tools they need in one place along with enough freedom to build learning experiences that work for their unique student bodies – no matter where they are.

THE IMPACT

In an effort to improve the state of academic efficacy in the province of Alberta for both 
in-person and online students, and to create 
a more level ground for students of all backgrounds amidst an ongoing pandemic, educators from ten school divisions would ultimately team up with Hāpara and the Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium to form the Alberta Collaboration for Learning (ACL).  Today, the Hāpara solution is available to 758,000 students and their teachers in Alberta.

The collaborative spirit is a legacy in Alberta school divisions and throughout the province where neighbors traditionally pull together to help one another get through harsh winters.

Connecting designers with digital design and web development skills and remote work.

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3,000
prospective creative gig workers connected to opportunities 
through the Meaningful Gigs Marketplace
40x Sustained
wealth realized in communities where creatives have been hired for gig work
Fund III
City
Washington, D.C
Year Founded 2019
Type of Evidence
User Case Studies
Fund
RTE II
City
San Francisco, CA
Year Founded
2015
Type of Evidence
Company-provided case study
THE PROBLEM

In sub-Saharan Africa alone, over 230 million jobs will require digital skills by 2030, yet 
one-third of Africa’s some 420 million young people between the ages of fifteen and thirty-five are unemployed. Another third 
are considered “vulnerably employed” and just one in six is working in wage-based employment. While there is great variance 
by country, young people in Africa face approximately twice the unemployment rate of adults, and underemployment is a significant and growing threat to the region. These statistics exist not because of a lack 
of willingness to seek out employment in the digital economy and not because of a lack 
of job opportunities, but because of a lack 
of connectedness to upskilling and digital career readiness pathways and networks. There is, therefore, a great opportunity to bring hundreds of thousands of people 
into the fold of digital employability – 
and ultimately into the fold of gainful and meaningful employment. Yet, that can only happen if young Africans can gain access to the tools and resources they need in order to unlock the skill sets and competencies that today’s employers seek, and that will set them up for lifelong career success.

THE COMPANY

The Meaningful Gigs platform connects employers – including major global names like IDEO, Meta and Starbucks – to highly-skilled designers who have been vetted and assessed for specific skills and competencies. Through the Meaningful Gigs marketplace, customers can connect with a vetted pool of designers 
in Africa and elsewhere, and hire them in less than one week. Sought after project skills include graphic design, branding, UI design, or UX design. The typical Meaningful Gigs project duration is six months, with designers earning approximately five times what they would earn if hired by local employers.

IMPACT

The benefits to employers who use Meaningful Gigs are numerous, and a consistent pipeline of high-caliber digital and design talent is one. But also, for employers who are eager to strengthen their double bottom line, the ability to engage digital talent globally, while positively impacting the home communities of those workers, is unprecedented.

Talent mapping software to engage and retain deskless workers

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Fund RTE III
City
Chicago, IL
Year Founded 2020
Fund
RTE II
City
San Francisco, CA
Year Founded
2015
Type of Evidence
Company-provided case study
THE PROBLEM

Deskless workers represent more than 80% of the global workforce, yet are rarely represented in research and discussions about organizational culture, retention, and workplace shifts. Indeed, in much of the “future of work” discourse that has taken place in the wake of the pandemic, it has essentially been asserted that remote or hybrid work has become ubiquitous for all workers, when nothing could be further from the truth. Deskless workers, by their sheer numbers and given the critical nature of their roles in factories, warehouses, docks, ports, retail, supply chain, manufacturing, hospitality, the food industry, and in key infrastructure roles –  power the economy, yet corporate and “desked” workers receive the lion's share of attention. Deskless workers aren’t just underrepresented in the public dialogue, though, but also in the investment and workplace innovation space. Less than 1% of software venture funding, for example, is aimed at deskless workers. The lack of investment and attention paid to their day-to-day work and issues means that, for many deskless workspaces, the workplace has evolved little since the industrial revolution.

THE COMPANY

Anthill is a machine learning-enabled company that has created communications solutions for companies that employ deskless workers. Their software delivers personal and actionable workforce communication tools that can be synched up with existing software systems to ensure a seamless integration into a company’s existing tools for things like hours reporting or training and upskilling. 
From helping employees find skilling, upskilling and promotion opportunities, to helping employers better understand the workday issues facing employers, Anthill leverages mobile technology to give employers and employees better connection points in a space where the use of computers and email is rare, if nonexistent.

Q. Tell us about your background and what drove you to start Anthill.

MC: I grew up in Alaska and most of the people I went to high school with went into a trade, working in supply chain, manufacturing or similar jobs. I know how common those jobs were, and I ended up in a doctoral program where I focused my research on deskless workers, and studied organizational psychology, with an emphasis on machine learning. What I learned was that, across HR research, less than 2% of studies out there include deskless workers, yet we know they make up 80% of the global workforce. In the pandemic context, that means 2.5 billion people don’t get to work remotely and never have. They’re in ports, warehouses, and factories, but never set foot in offices. Most of the ways we learn about and interact with employees in office jobs don’t work for deskless workers. So the question for me was: how do we build better solutions for this population so we can bring more dignity to these occupations? With the dearth of people going back to these jobs after the pandemic, we’ve been advising companies on what they can do to better bring deskless workers into the fold. That was the challenge we set for ourselves when we built Anthill.

Offering a more accessible and effective alternative to community college

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Fund III
City
New York, NY
Year Founded 2016
Fund
RTE II
City
San Francisco, CA
Year Founded
2015
Type of Evidence
Company-provided case study
THE PROBLEM

The higher education completion crisis is at an inflection point, with community college students deeply impacted. For the cohort of 2017, the graduation rate within 150% of normal time at 
a two-year institution was just 36%. The data on students from underserved backgrounds points to even greater risks and lower chances of completion, with variance by region.  In the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) 
for example, just 6% of Black students and 7% 
of Latinx students graduated with a certificate 
or a degree within three years.

THE COMPANY

Campus (built on the foundation of Campuswire’s higher-ed communication software) is an online space that serves up synchronous, degree-bearing learning opportunities for students. In the Campus.org portal, students can complete the first two years of college through online degree programs with live classes taught by high-quality professors who also teach at world-class universities. Students can achieve this at little 
to no cost, while the faculty – particularly
adjunct faculty – can supplement their income by teaching students who are outside the fold 
of their institutions.

Q. You studied aerospace engineering, and then went on to build a few different companies in education. Tell us about that journey and what ultimately led you to found Campus.

TO: I was studying at Leeds University in the UK and was shocked at how poorly designed and how poor the functionality of the learning software was. The most frustrating thing was how limited we were in our ability to interact with other students and faculty or in forums.  So I thought, ‘Well, if we could build better software, we could get a business off the ground,’ and that’s how I got really into it. I’ve been building software since high school, but solving that problem is how I really got into education technology. I tried building lots of different software that might be valuable to college campuses and ended up creating a pretty diverse product that didn’t succeed at first…but what we did have was being one of the first companies at the time who knew how to build both ioS apps 
and Android apps. We pivoted and became a consulting firm that built apps for schools. That’s how we got into enterprise software. A lot of institutions were asking us to make software for communication on campus, so we saw there was a need. So the thesis with Campuswire was that if we built really good virtual classroom software, then online learning could become more mainstream. 
If you think back to 2016, at the time you literally had Skype as the only tool to use for online communication. So I thought, ‘let’s build a more robust tool for synchronous and social interactions.’ That’s what Campuswire was. 
And it got more robust with each month and grew quickly. We had 100,000 people using it before the pandemic but we doubled really quickly and today we have 340,000 people using it. I think online learning without social facilitation isn’t appealing 
to a lot of people. It’s too siloed and can be quite isolating so you need high-interactivity software 
to make online learning something people want 
to do and enjoy doing.

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DOWNLOAD THE FULL

2021

REPORT

Published June 2021

DOWNLOAD THE FULL

2021

REPORT

Published June 2022

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