Douglas Crets


Giving Credibility to the Shadow Education System

Pipeline Fellowship Apps for Women Angel Investors Start Inaugural Boston Effort

written by A. Lauren Abele

The Pipeline Fellowship announces a call for applications in New York, NY and—for the first time—Boston, MA.

The Pipeline Fellowship seeks to increase the number of women angel investors (only 13% of U.S. angels are women[1]) through its six-month angel investing bootcamp, which is specifically designed for women who are first-time angel investors. While Fellows come from a variety of backgrounds (law, finance, healthcare, the arts, small business, and more), they all share a common interest in learning to invest for good.

The program trains women philanthropists to become angel investors through education (modules on due diligence, term sheets, valuations, board governance, etc.), mentoring (matching each participant with an experienced angel investor to serve as a role model), and practice (participants commit to invest in a woman-led for-profit social venture at the end of the training).

The cohorts are intentionally small (10 women) and designed to encourage teamwork, co-mentoring, peer-to-peer learning, as well as group decision-making in the investing process. Each participant commits to invest US$5K for a collective US$50K investment in exchange for an equity stake in the woman-led social enterprise of the group’s choosing. The inaugural Pipeline Fellowship class (NYC 2011) will be announcing their investment in late October. Stay tuned!

Applications for the 2011-2012 Boston- and 2012 NYC-based Pipeline Fellowship programs are now being accepted on a rolling basis until Monday, August 29, 2011. To apply, go to thePipeline Fellowship applications page.

The Pipeline Fellowship trains women philanthropists to become angel investors through education, mentoring, and practice. In addition to an all-day conference, the program’s educational components include a series of workshops on topics such as portfolio strategies, due diligence, and valuation. Each Fellow is also paired with an experienced angel investor who serves as a role model and a sounding board, sharing feedback and advice. Lastly, the Fellows put their education to work by selecting and investing in a woman-led, for-profit social venture.

A. Lauren Abele is Pipeline Fellowship’s COO. The Pipeline Fellowship aims to diversify the investor pool and connect women social entrepreneurs with investors who get them. Lauren holds a BA in English Literature and Environmental Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and an MPA in Economic Development and Comparative and International Affairs from Indiana University’s School for Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). Follow her on Twitter at @laurenabele.


Filed under: Digital Learning, Influence, Tech, , , , ,

Summit 2011: What’s Next in Education Innovation?

This post about the next New Schools Venture Fund, to be held May 18 at the Aspen Institute, will tell you a little about the questions to be asked of education entrepreneurs.

How do we make innovation an everyday habit in education? How do we learn from success and failure in order to transform systems and ideas?  How do we innovate to serve the most underserved?

They’ve got a new video up about the summit, and how it’s changed in format from previous years. Check it out.  One thing that already sticks out, it looks like the sessions are going to be more one on one focused, with more opportunities to break away and be a part of dynamic small groups. That always works. With all the Twittering and stuff that goes on at the summit, there’s really no need to constantly be in the same room, at the trough, so to speak, of the big heavy presentations. You can chat constantly in many ways throughout.


Filed under: Digital Learning, Tech, Work, , , , ,

The Future is Doing: How Social Media is the New Education

The following is part of ongoing notes towards a new understanding of education. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.

This is a response to a recent blog post at Fred Wilson’s blog, A VC.

tweeting mobile phones

Everything is hands on these days, including knowledge

Many of the problems of 20th Century ideas of distance, space, relationships, and technical difficulty have been solved. And in so doing, we have new problems. All of them are busines problems.

But education lags in the K-12 sector. Education is not geared towards solving problems encountered through real life experience. It’s fair to say that education in this country right now is about meeting benchmarks for prowess, intellect and other people’s expectations of performance, but it has very little to do with confronting and then solving everyday problems and social issues that could make all of us healthier, happier and more well-adjusted.

Education is about content, and understanding content, and then understanding how we understand content. In this way, it’s very much like social media. This parallel is what leads me to say that social media is the new education. social media in physical form and in practice is doing what education should be made to do, and it is doing it largely outside of the formal education system.

There are a couple of ways to see the Internet’s hive of social media companies. You can think of them as a property, and call them social media. Facebook is social media. LinkedIn is social media. Twitter is social media.

But you can also think of social media as a methodology, or even better, to see them as experience platforms. Each property has its unique methodology and the people who use them have their own sense of usage and the value that usage creates for them. In some cases, though, usage creates problems, or issues. This is where companies are born. More accurately, social media these days is where the minds of the founders of new companies are born. Teachers in the formal education system would do well do take note of something Fred Wilson witnessed recently:

Jeff and I sat in front of Tom’s class Launching Technology Ventures and talked for almost 2 hours on topics like Lean Startup Methodology, Pivoting, doing a startup vs joining a startup, and more.

I can tell you this, the HBS I visited is not the HBS I used to know. The students I had lunch with had all built a startup and exited before going to HBS. The knowledge and passion for startups evident in Tom’s class was off the charts. If business school is turning into entrepreneur school, then that’s a damn good thing.

Social Media is largely the process of doing something so that other people can see your work, or it’s about working in teams collaboratively, to create solutions, deliver information and create meaning and ideas. this is how companies will be run in the future.

I take some liberty in posting the following, but: social media and business are highly correlative. The people who use social media think in ways created by the structure and use of the social media they habitually use. business rises out of personal experience. If this personal experience is social, then business will be social. here’s how Wilson ties it into startups:

here is a very high correlation between lean startup approach and the top performing companies in our two funds.

– Lean startup methology is great, but it is really a lean startup culture you want.

– Lean startup is a machine, garbage in will give you garbage out.

– Early in a startup, product decisions should be hunch driven. Later on, product decisions should be data driven.

– Hunches come from being a power user of the products in your category and from having a long standing obsession about the problem you are solving.

– Domain expertise to the point of obsession is highly correlated with the most successful entrepeneurs in our portfolio.

– Ideas that most people derided as ridiculous have produced the best outcomes. Don’t do the obvious thing.

– Monetization should be native and improve the experience for users.

– If you have an idea that you can’t get out of your head, do a startup. Otherwise join a startup.

– If you are not technical, get product experience. Get your hands dirty and work with engineers.

– Take risks when you get out of business school. If you don’t take risks, you won’t find yourself in an interesting job and career.

Now that you know this, it’s probably a good idea to think about what we can be doing to make education in the K12 sector perform in the way that best directs students to this future inevitability.

Filed under: Influence, , , , , , , ,

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