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Editor’s Note

This week, we hosted 23 panels on all aspects of building startups on the Extra Crunch stage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF. Thanks to the thousands of attendees who attended those talks, as well as the workshops we held on the Breakout Stage — your enthusiasm was palpable.

We also had hundreds of new EC members join during the conference — to all of you: welcome!

This newsletter covers all of last week, and is a bit abbreviated thanks to Disrupt. Back to normal next week.

Where top VCs are investing in edtech

Extra Crunch media columnist Eric Peckham interviewed almost a dozen leading venture capitalists about the state of edtech, including Jennifer Carolan of Reach Capital, Aydin Senkut of Felicis Ventures, and Charles Birnbaum of Bessemer. There is still a lot of enthusiasm for the space, but the theses for these investors have diverged quite significantly.

Marlon Nichols , Managing Partner at MaC Venture Capital (a new LA-based seed fund with investments in Catalyte, Codeverse, and Wonderschool):

“Many education technology companies target individual teachers, which presents a long path to sizable revenue (requires too many customers) while others usually attempt to navigate the lengthy and bureaucratic sales cycle of selling to school districts. VCs prefer companies that have short sales cycles that can scale revenue quickly so in general, edtech companies are difficult investments for venture capital.

That said, education is a giant opportunity in the US because high quality education is not evenly distributed across communities or social classes. It’s a crisis. Companies that address this at scale are attractive if the revenue model makes sense. That’s why I led the first round into Wonderschool, which delivers high quality education and child care at costs relative to one’s zip code. The schools double as the educator’s home so there isn’t a need for real estate investment.”

Why is Dropbox reinventing itself? A chat with Dropbox VP of Product Adam Nash and CTO Quentin Clark

Dropbox may be known for its singular file storage product, but the company is adapting and changing as it seeks new customers and also learns more about what “file storage” really means to users.

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