NewSchools Venture Fund got its start in 1998, driven by social entrepreneur, Kim Smith, as well as venture capitalists, John Doerr and Brook Byers.
The mission of the nonprofit is "...to transform public education through powerful ideas and passionate entrepreneurs so that all children — especially those in underserved communities — have the opportunity to succeed."
NewSchools has done this through raising philanthropic capital from individual and institutional investors and using those funds to support the work of both for-profit and nonprofit education entrepreneurs.
Since 1998, NewsSchools has raised nearly $180 million and invested in more than 100 nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Many of those organizations are charter school networks; together those groups run about 250 schools, which would make the 33rd largest school district in the U.S., of more than 14,000 districts.
NewSchool Venture Fund also takes pride in improving student achievement. According to the organization:
- In the 2009-10 school year, 88% of the 115,000 students served by NSVF portfolio schools went on to college
- NewSchools human capital ventures have trained more than 120,000 teachers, who have reached over 12 million students.
Beginning in 2010, NewSchools Venture fund began investing its fourth fund. This fund also includes the NewSchools Innovation Fund and its City Funds. In early 2012, it also announced it would begin investing in startups through its Education Technology Seed Fund, Some previously funded ventures were then included in the fund.
In May 2014, Stacey Childress became chief executive of the NewSchools Venture Fund. She had previously spent four years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leading the team responsible for next-generation learning and supporting nearly 200 edtech and school entrepreneurs. She had previously been on the faculty at Harvard Business School where she developed and taught a course on education entrepreneurship.
NewSchools Venture Fund was previously led by Ted Mitchell, who held the post of CEO and president from 2005-2013. Mitchell also served as president of Occidental College, vice chancellor and dean of the School of Education and Information Studies at the UCLA, and professor and chair of the Department of Education at Dartmouth College. He left NewSchools Venture Fund in 2013. In May 2014, he was confirmed as Under Secretary of Education in the US Department of Education.
By mid 2014, the Seed Fund, led by Jennifer Carolan, had made more than 30 investments in startup edtech organizations (including edSurge). In February 2015, NewSchools spun its "Seed Fund" out of the nonprofit. It was established as a for-profit investing vehicle, led by Jennifer Carolan and Wayee Chu, both of whom had been involved with starting the group within NSVF. See Reach Capital for more on this group.
Investments by the Seed Fund included:
Additional investments by NewSchools Venture Fund outside of its "Seed Fund" investment portfolio include:
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