Shauntel has always believed in the power of education to change lives.
“Education paved the way to a brighter future for my mother who is now a tenured professor. She taught me that education is vital to not only exploring my own intellectual curiosity and potential, but also an important lever for greater social mobility,” she said.
Driven by a deep curiosity and a personal commitment to learning, Shauntel studied chemical engineering at MIT and earned her MBA and MA in Education at Stanford.
Shauntel started her career with Procter and Gamble, where she worked as a Senior Engineer developing product innovations, designing supply chains, and managing technology partnerships for the global laundry business.
She set out to instill her deep love for learning in others through volunteer tutoring and mentoring programs, but soon realized that a career in education was her true calling.
The Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellowship provided an entry point into the education sector, where she worked in New York City at Wireless Generation (now Amplify), a company focused on the use of innovative technology and educator training.
Propelled by her interest in the intersection of education and technology, she went on to co-found Reach Capital, an early stage venture firm that invests in solutions that empower educators, learners, and parents across the education spectrum.
Since their founding, Reach Capital has backed more than 120 companies, including notable startups such as Paper, ClassDojo, Newsela, Nearpod, and Handshake.
Reach Capital is one of the most diverse investment firms in the country, and Shauntel has emphasized that her team’s composition has played a crucial role in diversifying the founders they invest in.
“People who are writing checks are oftentimes going to have a bias and invest in people that look like them,” Shauntel shared in a 2023 feature in Forbes. “What helps change that is actually diversifying the check writers.”
According to Forbes, “Of the more than 100 founders that have received money from Reach Capital, nearly 36% are women, close to 16% are Latinx and 4% are Black. In comparison, the industry average is dismal: Last year, women-led startups received just 2% of total capital invested in VC-backed startups and Black founders got about 1%.”
In Spring 2023, Reach Capital announced that it raised $215 million to invest in edtech startups, as well as the launch of its first founders fund. Shauntel shared that the goal of the founders fund is to introduce venture capital to a broad set of people who may have never gotten access to this asset class before while also strengthening the ecosystem of edtech entrepreneurs.
With fresh funding, Reach will continue to look for opportunities where technology can scale innovation and learning best practices. Shauntel believes her team’s deep domain expertise in education is integral to the fund’s success.
“As someone not from the field of education,” she shared, “EP was instrumental in giving me the education experience and network to build my credibility and develop my edtech investing track record.”