Giving Compass’ Take:
• More education technology businesses are receiving funding from impact investors, meaning that more money will be directed at technology within classrooms.
• What are the implications for teachers with the increase of impact investment in edtech?
• Learn about the top trends in edtech.
In September 2019, a young Canadian ed tech company called Classcraft announced that it had raised $7.5 million from investors. One of the investors — the MaRS Catalyst Fund — was unusual. It’s backed by the philanthropic foundation of Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and it aims to solve societal problems as it makes profits.
Classcraft is an example of impact investing, investments that seek social or environmental benefits along with financial returns. Since the term was coined in 2007, the concept has quickly grown into an enormous $500 billion pot of money, according to one estimate by the Global Impact Investing Network.
Education is attracting only a small slice of it (renewable energy and healthcare firms are getting the lion’s share). But even a small slice of a half trillion dollars is a lot and it’s starting to affect the field of education and what wares educators get pitched. One of the main things Classcraft plans to do with its new money is build its sales force to sell its gamification software for social-emotional learning to schools.
Wealthy millennials are driving the impact investing. Three-quarters of millennial-run foundations, Alphonse said, have an interest in impact investing, compared with only a third of family foundations overall. Instead of just writing bigger checks for good causes, many younger heirs are attracted to the idea of investing in companies with a social mission.
What this means for education is that there are more dollars to fund education technology, such as computer-generated lessons tailored for each student, and online learning. “Impact investing could mean the more rapid adoption of those technologies,” said Alphonse, whose firm recently created a new fund with an impact approach.
Read the full article about impact investing for education by Jill Barshay at The Hechinger Report.
Interested in learning more about Impact Investing? Other readers at Giving Compass found the following articles helpful for impact giving related to Impact Investing.
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