Edtech reacquainted with fintech •

    Amy Jenkins left her post at Outschool, a marketplace for live online classes for kids, when the company decided to focus more on the consumer and less on the enterprise — a shift that came with numerous layoffs at the wealthy-backed education unicorn.

    Now, Jenkins is the COO of Meadow, a platform that aims to make it easier for students to pay tuition and for universities to continue to meet financial transparency requirements. Meadow recently announced that it has raised $3.5 million in venture capital — a round that Jenkins said, to her surprise, came together pretty quickly in six weeks. In addition, the round was three times the size of the founding team’s original target.

    Part of the startup’s victory may have been due to its vision going beyond traditional edtech.

    “I think a lot of our investors would see us as an edtech company operating in higher education, and there’s an incredible opportunity to think about that,” Jenkins said. “When students go to university, they are really at the beginning of their financial lives. And we can support and prepare them from the start.” The company’s early products help students better calculate the cost of attending college, balancing several factors such as housing and financial aid.

    Jenkins said the fact that it was a hybrid company that straddled the line between edtech and fintech helped close investors. Many of Meadow’s investors cut checks in the fintech space, “but also for the consumer and also for the social impact – so we were able to hit all those themes for these investors in terms of high potential work in this fintech space, but really have a consumer lens because we think so deeply about what students need.”

    Meadow isn’t alone in balancing two industries as a fundraising competitive advantage: companies that were once crypto-specific are shifting their pitch to be more fintech-focused, and some health tech companies are leaning on well-known financial instruments as a disruptor. “Every company is a fintech companyis a common saying, but in the current environment, the reasoning behind that shift may be more about survival and being smart than serendipity.

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