Catalytic Capital | April 29, 2017

Chan/Zuckerberg and Gates Foundation team up for “personalized learning”

The team at


The biggest question in the red-hot edtech market (see this week’s EverFi and MarcoPolo raises) is whether tech advances will shrink or widen educational inequality (see, “Silicon Valley aims to democratize individualized education”).

Now comes Chan/Zuckerberg Initiative and the Gates Foundation, which are committing $12 million over four years to New Profit, a Boston venture philanthropy fund, to create the Personalized Learning Initiative.

New Profit will provide $1 million grants and support to seven organizations: Highlander Institute, Big Picture Learning, iNACOL, PowerMyLearning, the Learning Accelerator, Transcend, and Valor Collegiate Academies to test approaches that “give students more agency in their own learning journey and provide teachers with tools to tailor classroom instruction to the unique needs of each student.”

With the edtech market heating up, open questions remain: Will technology and artificial intelligence drive equality or inequality? Will for-profit or nonprofit models deliver better results? How can technology make personalized learning work for all?

Our friends at EdSurge have more detail on EverFi, which this week raised $190 million, mostly from the new Rise Fund from TPG Growth.