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SAN FRANCISCO — Lumina Foundation is hosting its first Demo Day today, featuring more than a dozen early-stage companies developing solutions to help more people receive education and training after high school. The entrepreneurial firms will have an opportunity to network, demonstrate their products and services, and pitch potential investors and customers at the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco. The event is the first of several activities during a two-day gathering designed to connect entrepreneurs, investors, and leaders in business, education and training, philanthropy, technology, and other sectors to spark interest in direct investments in social enterprises seeking to improve post-high school education and training.
Participating companies are developing services and products designed to increase access to education and training among a diverse population of students, including adults, people of color, immigrants, and students from low-income families. Demo Day pitches will showcase ideas that range from tools to manage digital badges and credentials to tablets that deliver free access to educational programming and low-cost communication services for incarcerated adults.
“Demo Day is an opportunity to foster collaboration and build alliances among entrepreneurs, investors, and leaders in related fields to drive progress toward achieving fairer educational outcomes,” said Elizabeth Garlow, investment officer for Lumina Impact Ventures. “In today’s world, we are constantly hearing about ambitious new apps, technology platforms, and ideas to solve business challenges. This spirit extends into the field of education and training after high school, where bright minds are developing tools and solutions that have the potential to develop the nation’s future workforce.”
Demo Day is an effort by Lumina Impact Ventures, the foundation’s social impact investing arm, that aims to increase the proportion of working-age Americans with college degrees, certificates, and other quality credentials through direct investments in solutions that address underrepresented populations. Through Lumina Impact Ventures, the foundation seeks to engage the private sector in ways that foster new ideas, generate new knowledge, and attract capital to address the unique challenges these students face.
Demo Day participants include Bitwise Industries, BrightHive, CareAcademy, Cell-Ed, Censia, Credly, DISCO, Edovo, Edquity, Gnowbe, NextPlay, RallyBright, Sounding Board, Upswing, and Viridis Learning. Lumina Impact Ventures has invested in nine of these companies.
Demo Day will precede Lumina’s Investing in Future Talent & Education (LIFTed) event here on Tuesday. That gathering will include panel discussions and speeches from leading voices in education, philanthropy, and other fields. Three finalists for the foundation’s 2019 Education Innovation Prizes will present their entries for a chance to win up to $60,000 to advance their efforts.
To learn more, visit www.luminafoundation.org/lumina-impact-ventures.
About Lumina Foundation: Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Lumina envisions a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. The foundation’s goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.