Smart List: 45 Investors Driving Innovation

EdLeaders Sitting Around Table Working on Plans for School Improvement

Smart List Logo Innovation in education is an important factor contributing to a better shared future for us all. Luckily, there is a healthy investment ecosystem feeding this important cause. Today, we are recognizing 45 investors, incubators and new school engines powering the learning revolution, and taking the opportunity to also highlight recent projects that we’ve been fortunate to work with some of these investors on.


Incubators, Accelerators & New School Engines:

  • 1776: Health, education, energy and transportation incubator in Washington, D.C.
  • 4.0 Schools: A New Orleans nonprofit incubator training and investing in educators.
  • Catapult: A new school developer in Denver that is focused on developing effective school leadership.
  • Charter School Growth Fund: Nonprofit philanthropic venture capital fund that supports the growth of public charter schools in Broomfield, CO.
  • EDGE: New York-based creators of the “Startup Generator.”
  • Imagine K12: Serving as the education arm of infamous accelerator Y Combinator and based in Mountain View, CA.
  • The Lean Lab: Launches transformational education innovations through an innovative partnership creation model.
  • LearnLaunch: Both an accelerator program and co-working space serving Boston’s EdTech community.
  • The Mind Trust: Education innovation network recruiting high quality talent and creating new schools in Indianapolis.
  • New Schools for Chicago: A school developer that has “opened 81 schools, creating opportunities for nearly 65,000 students.”
  • New Schools for New Orleans (& New Schools for Baton Rouge): School developer investing in local high-impact organizations.
  • New Visions for Public Schools: New/improved school engine designing and sustaining schools in New York.
  • Next Generation Learning Challenges: New school grants to support administrators and redesigning schools in Washington, D.C.

EdTech Venture Funders:

  • Expansion Venture Capital: EdTech seed stage and early stage investments based out of New York.
  • GSV Capital: Well known for hosting ASU/GSV, one of the best innovation conferences around and in their growth stage investments. They are based in Woodside, CA.
  • Kapor Capital: Seed stage investments in information technology companies. Based in Oakland, CA.
  • KPCB (Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers): Early & growth stage investments, Menlo Park, CA.
  • Learn Capital: Early stage investments, based in San Mateo, CA.
  • Owl Ventures: Education venture fund spunout from Catamount Ventures leading Series A rounds and contributing to Series B rounds.
  • Reach Capital: A venture spun out from NewSchool Venture Fund and based in Palo Alto, CA.
  • Rethink Education: Primarily investing in growth stage companies in EdTech and based in New York.
  • New Enterprise Associates (NEA): Early & growth stage investments, Menlo Park, CA.
  • New Markets Venture Partners: Early & growth stage investments, Fulton, MD.

Our Smart Lists are some of our most popular posts, and upcoming sponsorship opportunities are still available. Interested in learning more? Contact Megan: [email protected]

This Smart List is sponsored by Getting Smart Services, Getting Smart’s consulting division that helps schools, districts, networks and impact-oriented partners create, implement and amplify thought leadership campaigns, education initiatives, powerful learning experiences and forward-leaning strategies. Learn more about what they can do to support your education initiatives here.

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Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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1 Comment

Mai Tran

Hoping that you will consider including ECMC Foundation on this list in the future. We make investments to improve educational outcomes through evidence-based innovation. Learn more about our work by visiting our website.


Erik Day

Thanks for your suggestion, Mai! We'll be sure to keep you in mind the next time we put out this list.

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