by Meagan Loyst, Early Stage VC at Lerer Hippeau

For EdTech founders. NYC founders. Education enthusiasts. This one’s for you!

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When I think about what it means to be “Building with Purpose,” Zach Sims and what he’s building with Codecademy is the perfect example (and why I’m so excited to chat with him as BWP’s first interview). Codecademy was founded back in 2011 in Zach’s college dorm room. Fast-forward to today, Codecademy has served more than 45 million learners and in a way that makes learning to code both accessible and affordable. …


The power of community & peer-to-peer learning in a crowded D2C consumer EdTech landscape.

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A particular topic that’s been front and center in the VC community lately is community — how it’s becoming an integral source of revenue for creators, drives long-term retention for consumer companies, and has created a string of startups in-and-of itself in community management tools.

I think the intersection of community and EdTech is quite interesting. …


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Some quick background: EdTech is a space that is impact-driven, tangible, and seeing a massive uptick in adoption across the value chain due to COVID-19. Some say that consumer adoption has been brought forward by a magnitude of 5–10 years, lowering customer acquisition costs and driving a great deal of staying power and habit formation in the minds of consumers. And for a space that had ~3% digital penetration pre-COVID, investors are taking notice and figuring out which areas of EdTech and companies are truly here to stay for the long haul.

As an investor at Lerer Hippeau focused on seed stage investments, there’s never been a better time to be talking about the future of education due to this velocity of change. Before I joined Lerer Hippeau, I was an Analyst at General Atlantic (global growth equity firm, investors in EdTech co’s like BYJU’s, Quizlet, Duolingo, etc.) and spent a great deal of time on thematic research and deep dives on education. For me and my colleagues, there was no better place to gather research and support our theses than attending sessions at the annual ASU GSV Summit. This hasn’t changed since joining the team at Lerer Hippeau, as evidenced below. I registered for 27 sessions this year, and luckily they were all recorded so I could go back and watch the ones that overlapped. …


The under-appreciated Chrome GTM strategy & how Toucan is taking on the world of language learning.

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I first came across Toucan seeing tons of instances, like the one below, on Twitter where people and companies were buying and owning words. I was definitely intrigued, and quickly learned that this was an incredible growth hack and monetization strategy for an EdTech company called Toucan.


Kate has been a long-time leader in the education space — We talk about navigating K-12, the changes in delivering online education, the convergence of B2B and B2C in EdTech, and more!

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Kate Eberle Walker has had a pretty incredible career journey in education, both with startups and more traditional companies in the space. Here’s a quick snapshot:


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If you don’t know who John Katzman is, you’ve probably been a beneficiary of one of his startups without even knowing.

  • Have you studied for the ACT, SAT, GMAT, MCAT, or LSAT through the Princeton Review? Founded by John Katzman.
  • Have you attended an online course or program through your University? 2U (NASDAQ: TWOU) likely enabled that. Founded by John Katzman.
  • Have you searched for an online school or graduate program? Noodle. How about tutoring? Noodle Pros. Attended an online program/university? Noodle Partners. I sense a theme here… all founded by John Katzman!

Needless to say, John knows a ton about EdTech and starting successful companies. He also has great wisdom on leadership, and in building in NYC. Just last week, a student entrepreneur emailed me to chat about building impactful startups, and he mentioned that John gave him & his cofounder an opportunity to intern at Noodle after hearing their story/pitch — it’s stories like this that make John’s impact on the world feel even more tangible. …


Let’s talk language learning! And selling EdTech with a B2B lens.

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In recent years, the concept of “Education-as-a-Benefit” has become more prevalent. Companies are realizing that in today’s economy, it takes more than just traditional benefits to retain employees.

In 2018, LinkedIn put together a report on the workplace, which indicated that 94% of employees surveyed said they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career. Education is also the 3rd most requested employee benefit (behind paid family leave, and remote/flexible work options).

It’s less expensive for companies to retain existing employees than hire and train new ones, and providing educational options for professional development is a great way to improve retention & employee satisfaction. …


An early innovator in the creator economy, Ankur discusses publicly publishing Teachable’s metrics, navigating the Hotmart acquisition, the 3 best ways to serve creators, advice for founders, and more.

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Everyone these days is talking about the creator economy, and how everyday people are monetizing their passions & skillsets to make a living. According to Forbes, 50 million people today already consider themselves a “creator,” and those numbers are only expected to grow.

Ankur Nagpal, the founder & CEO of Teachable, saw this coming about 6 years ago, and decided to build an online platform to help creators make and sell online courses. …


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For brief context, my name is Meagan and I’m an early-stage investor at Lerer Hippeau. It’s been about a month since I joined the team, and I recently thought about Gen Z investors (born ’95 or later) that are investing in Gen Z entrepreneurs/companies.

The tweet that started it all…

That thought became a tweet, and led to conversations with 71 young investors working in venture capital and growth equity, at accelerators/incubators and student-run VCs, and as angel investors — all born ’95 or later, aged ~18 to 25 years old.

I asked everyone four key questions that will be explored below. …

About

Meagan Loyst

VC @ Lerer Hippeau | Founder of Gen Z VCs | Advisory Board @ Girls Who Invest

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