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I’m a venture investor in K12 education, so it might seem strange for me to advocate for a different kind of capital other than traditional venture capital. After all, I benefit from my current work making venture investments into early stage, high growth companies. I’ve been fortunate to invest in many outstanding entrepreneurs who have subsequently raised tens of millions in venture capital and are growing highly successful companies that serve the education market. So, why would I advocate for a different kind of capital?

Several years into doing this work, I see a number of signs that traditional venture capital is not a fit for many entrepreneurs who are focused on building companies that create long-term positive social impact in education, especially in K12 where innovation is slow, sales cycles are long, and measurable impact takes time and patience. Edovate Capital, LLC, which is my holding company, has allowed me to approach investing from a patient capital/long-term perspective, but this structure isn’t the norm in our industry. Most funds are backed by Limited Partners (LPs) who are looking for significant returns within five to seven years or so of the initial investment. This type of structure is not aligned to the needs of most K12 entrepreneurs who are looking to create long-term value and impact for students, parents, teachers, and school leaders. …


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Chronically absent students achieve poorer results than their peers

Amid the global uncertainty and economic calamity left in its wake, COVID-19 has exposed founders and teams who are adaptable. At a time when future K12 funding is uncertain, school structures are ambiguous and highly variable, and school district leaders are frantically trying to get basic distance learning structures up and running, management’s ability to adapt around a customer-centered focus is suddenly essential. We at Edovate Capital believe that CEO Emily Bailard and her team at EveryDayLabs (fka InClass Today) have passed this test.

Emily and her team are addressing the large-scale attendance crisis in the U.S., which affects more than 7.5 million students who are considered chronically absent (missing 10% or more of the school year). Chronic absenteeism contributes to lower reading and math scores, higher student course failure rates, and increased dropout rates. It seems obvious, but students who attend school more often achieve better results than students who are often absent. …


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During this COVID-19 crisis, I’m inspired every day by the amazing efforts of entrepreneurs and their teams to positively impact the lives of those touched by K12 schools and districts. Not only are they addressing challenges to help teachers, administrators, and students continue educating and learning, but they’re also supporting hundreds of employees and their families. Here’s a sample of some of the amazing work that Edovate Capital portfolio companies are doing to create impact during COVID-19.

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BookNook is an adaptive digital reading platform that helps students make measurable reading gains. They’re offering the BookNook platform at no cost to new partners affected by closures during this outbreak. Free access includes remote sessions where students use video conferencing to log in to teacher guided sessions. …

About

Graham Forman

Serial edtech entrepreneur turned impact investor. Founder and Managing Director at Edovate Capital. #edtech #edchat #education #startup #innovation

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