At Impact Engine, one of our four impact areas of focus is education. Time and time again, we have heard from companies that the best edtech products have to fight against mediocre ones because of the relationship-based nature of sales in many school districts. The reality underlying that frustration is that administrators haven’t had great tools to foster informed decision making. Traditional achievement systems simply present outcomes without capturing the data in the context of what educators or programs did and how effective their actions were at impacting student outcomes. At the same time, traditional financial systems have lacked the correlations between expenditures and student achievement. As a result, districts have struggled to align their spending on products and programs that produce the best student outcomes.
Our most recent investment in Glimpse seeks to address that challenge. Glimpse has developed a data platform that connects budgeting systems with data on student outcomes, enabling districts and schools to calculate an eROI, or education return on investment. What drew us to this investment was the potential for systems change within education. By providing data to districts, Glimpse enables decision makers to include impact in their purchase decisions, and it also helps them ask the right questions when they see discrepancies in performance within or across schools. The US spent $12 billion on edtech alone in 2017, and that figure is substantially higher when you consider spending on programs and curriculum. We believe Glimpse has the potential to meaningfully impact how those dollars are spent.
Why We Invested
In addition to the compelling market opportunity and potential for impact, we were impressed by the team. The company is led by co-founders Nicole Pezant and Adam Pearson, both experienced edtech entrepreneurs who previously worked together at Chalkable. They’ve demonstrated an ability to grow and scale (and exit) companies in this space, and we are excited to work with them. Despite a small team size, the company had already achieved meaningful traction by the time we invested.
While Glimpse is able to infer correlations, they are not utilizing randomized control trials (RCTs) and do not purport to evaluate causality. However, they do provide a more granular level of detail that helps administrators connect the dots between spending and outcomes. To that end, the impact metrics that we are tracking for the company include the spending efficiency or eROI (the % of spend that is driving student gains); the number of districts using Glimpse, including a breakdown of Title 1 schools and the number of students within each district; and improvements in student performance.
We invested in the seed round that Glimpse raised earlier this summer which will enable the company to invest in product, grow sales, and demonstrate improvement in spending efficiency at customers. We look forward to supporting the company alongside co-investors Fresco Capital, Govtech Fund and GSV AcceleraTE.