The angel investor plays a crucial role in the growth and development of a startup in two distinct ways. First and foremost, they fund the startup, providing new opportunities for the fledgling company. Second, they provide wisdom through mentorship, steering the startup down a path to success.
After getting entrenched in the angel and VC world, Navah Fuchs decided to take the obvious success behind that model and apply it to a whole new world: education. Angel Ed was designed as a nonprofit platform to help students finance their education in a debt-free way while building network connections through mentor-guided leadership.
“I had originally wanted to be a teacher,” says Fuchs. “But I got so upset with how bad the education system is and how little impact one single teacher makes, so I pivoted to the tech world.”
Through Angel Ed, students can showcase their academic achievements, passions, and goals, much like a startup would their product. Potential investors can get to know the students and provide funding to cover what specific students might need to complete their education.
Angel Ed then accepts the funds on behalf of the students and then pays the bills for them. Their students can also opt to crowdfund the remaining portion of their necessary academic funds by tapping family and friends.
But that is only half of the angel investor mentality that Fuchs and her co-founders have ingrained into Angel Ed. The platform puts the student first, connecting them to mentors who can teach them how to establish professional networks, put their education to good use, and spend their money in the right ways.
“On our model, if students have to take out debt, it is a managed risk, and there will be a reward in the form of professional success,” says Fuchs. “Unsupervised debt translates into a complete lack of fiscal literacy.”
Looking at the long term, Angel Ed is collecting hordes of empirical data surrounding their current 100-student class. By recognizing student successes and failures, Fuchs and the team can specify which universities and programs are best for the students.
“We are aiming to be the biggest source of data for how universities assess their programs,” says Fuchs. “I see us bringing some much needed transparency to the higher education field.”
Typically, investors look for ROIs on their investments. While a startup would bring money back to them, the student ROI translates into graduating on time and using their education to work a dynamite job.
And as their students head out into the professional world, capitalizing on opportunities they have created, Angel Ed asks only one thing in return. They want students to remember their roots and pay the kindness forward someday when they are able.
Angel Ed will be featured at Tech Cocktail’s Boston Mixer & Startup Showcase on August 27th.