by Dan Levitan, Co-Founder & Partner
Starting with our investment in Capella about a decade ago, Maveron has a history of investing in disruptive, high quality consumer-facing education businesses. We have built a deep network of executives and experts who help us understand underlying trends and unearth new opportunities in the post secondary education technology sector.
It’s why we’re bullish on our core investments in General Assembly and our Series A investment in Koru, which is led by the phenomenal duo of co-founder and CEO Kristen Hamilton (a former EIR at Maveron) and co-founder and Chief Learning Officer Josh Jarrett. Earlier today, Koru announced Maveron evolved our position from Seed investor to leading the $8M Series A investment in Koru.
Kristen’s and Josh’s passion for entrepreneurship and education resulted in Koru. Koru will transform how college graduates prepare for success in the real world and become impactful contributors at the country’s most innovative and fastest growing companies – including Zillow – the latest corporate partner to join Koru.
At Maveron, where we focus on attracting passionate entrepreneurs capable of building enduring consumer brands, we were drawn to three powerful qualities in the Koru story:
1 – Passionate entrepreneurs with an impressive track record. Maveron General Partner Clayton Lewis – and Board member for Koru – and Kristen have a 15-year business relationship, which gave us a unique understanding of Kristen’s passion for education, incredible leadership skills, and drive to build an enduring consumer brand. With Josh, the leadership team has a seat at the table in the academic community where Josh is widely respected from his time leading higher education innovation and technology investing at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
2 – Unique market position and momentum with customers. Koru’s employer embedded program makes it very different than more skill focused programs that currently exist. Already, we’ve seen an incredible response from high-growth employers – including Zillow to REI to LinkedIn – and we’re excited about the growth prospects the Series A will fuel for Koru as it expands its product offerings.
3 – Large market opportunity. The $2.5 trillion education market bears the weighty responsibility of educating workers to succeed in today’s global knowledge economy, and Maveron is focused on backing great entrepreneurs like Kristen and the entire Koru team with scalable business ideas that will drive innovation in this massive market. Koru is unique in its ability to offer real value to graduates and employers alike, creating a match – and market opportunity – that represents a high growth opportunity for our portfolio.
The bottom line is that more than 50% of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, and at the same time, employers are hungry for entry-level talent who will be impactful and committed. Koru bridges the gap to create a win-win for graduates and employers through a marketplace solution. It’s why we know Koru is a winner in the ed tech market.