We're back from a couple of whirlwind months traipsing across the American Southwest at some of the most impactful conferences in Social Impact and Education! These three conferences are amongst my favorites, particularly because they are vastly different in audience and content. So, for each, I'll provide you with a piece of content that really affected me - I hope they have the same affect for you.
This conference has come a long way in the last few years. It's always been a great place to kick off new ventures and get lots of eyeballs, but was never something we were interested in because the content (and thus, the audience) was never focused on impact. Boy, has that changed. There's a lot I could share, but I'll just leave you with my favorite comment from the week:
This is an excellent conference run by our friends at Fast Forward. Not only are they the only accelerator dedicated exclusively to tech nonprofits, they also happen to be one of the finest accelerators out there. We've had the pleasure of working with so many entrepreneurs that have gone through this program and each one has been immensely impressive. One of them was particularly prominent on the Accelerate Good stage. HeeJae Lim - Founder of Talking Points - joined Twilio's Jeff Lawson to talk through the technologies available today to help scale out social impact ventures like hers. They've just enabled their 10 millionth conversation, and there's no slowing in sight 🚀
This conference has the most interesting and impactful cross-section of attendees of any of the conferences on our schedule. It is a cross-section of anyone who's got money to put into education, and anyone who's looking to raise money in education. I've never seen a busier hotel lobby as edtech entrepreneurs try to create serendipity and find some time with a potential new investor. This year was particularly good for us as we were asked to moderate a panel at the conference on the topic of "Empowering the Parent as an Educator". I was glad to be involved and even more glad that this important topic got some stage time. Spoiler Alert: I hijacked the topic and made it about equity ⚖️💪🏽
What Are We Reading?
It would be fairly accurate to say that I've mostly been reading email follow-ups from conferences, but I I carved some time out for the one important piece:
Investing in Population-Level Change - Jim Shelton has been working on this for several years, and we've been huge fans of the work. Few people talk about the collective responsibility we all have to our children in the same way that he does, and he highlights a few of the ways major players can (and should) contribute. It should be no surprise that our favorite point is the way he describes how "Business can play a transformative role" - Shelton says that "US philanthropy typically ignores the potential of for-profit companies to help create, implement, and scale innovative solutions to domestic challenges."
Not only do we believe in this, we work hard at it, and our clients can attest to the innovative solutions we've helped them create to solve the challenges inherent in their communities. Its our life work, and we're proud to do it.
If you're making impact investments, do corporate philanthropy, are thinking about getting into either of those fields, and want to know how to do it better - let us help you!
Where Will We See You Next?
We'll be kicking off the 5th cohort of the AT&T Aspire Accelerator in late May, and we couldn't be more excited. AT&T has made its choices for the 8 startups joining the program this year, and we'll be happy to talk about them with you as soon as we're able. They'll be joining a distinguished group of alumni who now collectively reach over 23 million students, and raised over $35m in additional capital after AT&T investment.
We are sworn to secrecy, but you can try and hit us up anyway ;)