Venture Philanthropists: The New Schools Fund

The New Schools Fund

The anxious promoters of a start-up company, wearing their Sears suits and begging for an investment from clench-jawed venture capitalists wearing Brioni: there is a version of this scene in the founding myth of almost every tech firm from Sun Microsystems to eBay. Venture-capital financing is as embedded in the culture of Silicon Valley as integrated circuits and $750,000 tract houses. So perhaps it's not surprising that this form of financing--and its results-oriented assessment of potential investments--has made its way to the nonprofit sector.

This morning's nervous executives are from TeachScape, a company that thinks it has found a more efficient...

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