Daniel Pianko and Nasir Qadree of Investing in the Future of Learning

Key Points

  • An increasing amount of funds are seeking impact — both learner gains as well as financial returns. That means that edupreneurs being thoughtful about delivering valuable products and services are finding it easier to secure funding and scale impact.

investing in the future of learning

In 2020, U.S. edtech startups raised over $2.2 billion in venture and private equity capital across 130 deals, a nearly 30 percent increase from 2019. Global investments in learning tech spiked in the first half of 2021 to $18.8 billion far outpacing the historic levels in 2020.

While much of the pandemic surge in learning tech investment was chasing financial returns, an increasing amount is seeking impact — both learner gains as well as financial returns. That means that edupreneurs being thoughtful about delivering valuable products and services are finding it easier to secure funding and scale impact. 

This trend toward valuing social as well as financial returns is catching on — not just in education but across the board. This new focus on returns to all stakeholders is redefining capitalism. Leading the charge is Impact Capital Managers (ICM), a group of 66 funds representing more than $12B in impact-focused capital. They are transforming the opportunity set in business, energy, education, and healthcare.    

You can’t tell me that there are only four black women in the United States who deserve a million dollars or more of venture capital […] we’re clearly in the early innings of a radical shift of how we allocate capital.

Daniel Pianko

Our guests on this podcast episode are Daniel Pianko and Nasir Qadree. Together, they represent a new focus on impact in education. Dan is co-founder and managing director of Achieve Partners, an investment fund harnessing digital transformation to build new models for learning and new pathways to good jobs. Dan is also founder of University Ventures, important investors in the postsecondary space, and hosts the Better Money, Better World podcast.

Nasir Qadree is the Founder and Managing Partner at Zeal Capital Partners, an inclusive investment vehicle partnering with entrepreneurs to bridge America’s Wealth and Skills gaps. Zeal are members of ICM. Before Zeal, Nasir led Led AT&T’s social impact fund and before that was head of education at Village Capital, an early impact seed fund.

Let’s listen in as Tom chats with Dan and Nasir about all things investing.

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]rt.com

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