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Investing in Education Innovation

  • Michelson Runway Accelerator 1355 MARKET, SUITE 488 SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103 (map)

Please join us for a panel discussion with Harvard Alumni Stacey Childress (CEO, New Schools Venture Fund), Vivian Wu (Managing Director, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative), and Troy Williams (Managing Director, University Ventures) as they discuss the landscape of investing in education innovation. The panel will touch upon new trends and opportunities in education investing and best practices for public & private sector collaboration and cover K-12, higher education, education technology, and new school models. 

This event is co-hosted by Michelson Runway Accelerator.


Stacey Childress

Stacey is the CEO at NewSchools Venture Fund. Prior to joining NewSchools, Childress led the K-12 Next Generation Learning team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, investing in schools and technologies that support personalized learning for middle and high school students in the United States.

Prior to joining the foundation, Childress was on the faculty of the Harvard Business School where she wrote and taught about entrepreneurial activity in public education in the United States. Her work focused on urban public school districts, charter schools, and nonprofit and for-profit enterprises with missions to improve the public system. During her time at Harvard she wrote three books and more than thirty cases and articles about education entrepreneurship. She also won teaching awards from her students and the HBS dean for her elective course on education entrepreneurship, which was taken by nearly 1000 students between 2004 and 2010. Before working in academia, Childress was a co-founder of an enterprise software company and also spent ten years in a Fortune 500 company in sales and general management.

Early in her career, she taught in a Texas public high school. She is a graduate of Baylor University and Harvard Business School. In 2012, she was named one of Forbes Magazine’s Impact 15, a group of innovators revolutionizing education in the United States and around the world.

Vivian Wu

Vivian runs education venture investments for Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI).  In its mission to advance human potential and improve human equality, CZI seeks to invest in strong entrepreneurs building innovative solutions that transform education globally across the lifelong learning spectrum.  Vivian's investments include Andela, AltSchool, BYJU's, Bridge International Academies, Ellevation Education, MasteryConnect, Newsela and Volley Labs.  She has over 18 years of experience in venture capital and private equity.  She has previous experience at a family office, TA Associates, Accel Partners, and Morgan Stanley Capital Partners. 

Vivian holds an MBA from Harvard University, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S.Econ in finance (Wharton) and a B.A. in history, summa cum laude, Beta Gamma Sigma, and Phi Beta Kappa. 

Vivian also serves on several non-profit boards as the Chair of Caliber Schools, and on the Executive Committees of the Harvard Business School Alumni Board and Full Circle Fund.  She has consulted pro bono for education non-profits including San Francisco Unified School District, San Mateo iZone, the Clayton Christensen Institute and A Better Chance. 

Troy Williams

Troy is a Managing Director of University Ventures. Prior to University Ventures, Troy was a senior executive at Macmillan where he was CEO of Macmillan Enterprise Solutions and President of Macmillan New Ventures, managing an edtech portfolio of seven companies with a focus on data and analytics, university systems and student performance and outcomes. Troy founded and for nine years was CEO of Questia Media, an early ebook company ultimately sold to Cengage Learning. Troy received his bachelor’s degree in History, Phi Beta Kappa, from Rice University, and his law degree from the Harvard Law School where he was a member of Harvard Law Review. Troy started his career in the mergers and acquisitions practice at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. He is on the Advisory Board of Rice University's School of Humanities. Troy focuses on investments in software and systems for universities.

About the Michelson Runway Accelerator

Michelson Runway is the world's first accelerator dedicated to supporting innovations in both higher education as well as career training.

The accelerator emerged as a partnership initiative between the Michelson 20MM Foundation and Runwayincubator. Ultimately, the goal is to serve as the bridge that connects institutions, innovators, and policymakers solving the most pressing issues in postsecondary and vocational education.

Our guiding star is simple: All students around the world should have access to an affordable, equitable, and high-quality education that leads to a meaningful career.

Learn more here: