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Education

I work with the education industry and students in a number of ways. My main goals are: to understand the cutting edge of new disciplines; meet potential founders/employees; and also to help the broader technology and research community.

  • Invest in new ventures founded by students or recent graduates.
    See Please don’t pitch a venture capitalist without this checklist and then contact me.
  • Invest in education technology. 
    I was Founder and CEO of an expert network, Circle of Experts, sold to Evalueserve, which provided hyper-targeted education from domain experts. I’m excited about edtech because the industry is so little changed from thousands of years ago. COVID-19 creates enough pressure that the education industry is now being forced to reconsider traditional practices. I’m an investor in a range of edtech companies, including:
    Authorea.com (board member) – The collaborative platform for research. Acquired by Wiley.
    SignUp.com, formerly VolunteerSpot (board member) – Organizing platform to quickly mobilize and coordinate volunteers in their community, school, religious organization, or other social network.
    Clarity.com – Proactively educate and advise you on how to improve your financial management.  Sold to Goldman Sachs for reported ~$100m.
    Yup – Online learning company, whose first product is a math homework help program.
    Voxy.com – A new way to learn languages that uses mobile technology and social game dynamics to turn a student’s real-world daily experiences into a fun and highly effective curriculum.
    AskWonder.com – Your personal research assistant.  Their primary use case is anytime you’re looking for information on Google and can’t find it within 2 minutes.
    Omaze.com – Omaze offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences that also support social missions.  Often used to fund education-related charities/initiatives.
    FounderSuite.com – Set of tools to educate and support tech founders.
  • Advise on angel group initiatives.
    I founded Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater New York, now the largest angel group on the East Coast. I am informally advising several universities/organizations in their angel initiatives.
  • Partner with students to execute research on topics of mutual interest.
    I’m the author of Kickstart: Use Your Education to Accelerate Your Career, to be published by Wiley in 2021. I have published original research on investment best practices in Harvard Business Review, Institutional Investor, the Journal of Private Equity, and elsewhere.  For example, I worked with a team of three Columbia MBAs (past and future McKinsey and BCG consultants) on a research study on “Best Practices of Venture Capitalists in Increasing the Value of Portfolio Companies.”  Learn more about how I work with students here.
  • Partner with faculty on promoting entrepreneurship.
    See How universities can help students and alumni work in the tech industry.  In particular, back in July 2016, ff Venture Capital partnered with NYU to launch a lab focused on artificial intelligence. I think other universities could benefit by emulating this model. At the time, ffVC was (to our knowledge) the first VC in the country to partner with a university on a startup-launching initiative. For more, see NYU Partners with Venture Firm to Make City a Hub for Startups Using Artificial Intelligence. (Kudos to my former colleague Ryan Armbrust on leading this.)
  • Present on campus as a guest speaker.
    I have presented at universities including Harvard, NYU, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, and the National University of Singapore; and numerous business schools: Columbia Business School, Harvard Business School, Wharton, Technion MBA Program, and Yale School of Management. I’ve posted here my presentations to investors, founders, consultants, and to students specifically.