ETCH Funding + M&A Update 11/2/23
The world's most expensive Parchment
It’s been a while since I’ve written about the goals of ETCH.
This newsletter started off as a COVID passion/retain-my-sanity project; an email follow-up to a Clubhouse(!) group started while we were all cooped up at home. It grew into a side hustle that was strategic to my day job as a VC.
In January 2023, I jumped into the newsletter full-time. I set a 12-month revenue goal to use as a leading indicator of whether this venture might succeed on its own.
This is how, during the Year of AI, I started a human-dependent business. I have written every single word of every ETCH post, as have the other authors who have contributed to this project.
I like technology and someday may go back to investing in technology companies. But, today, we live in a world that is rife with misinformation and hallucinations. It is hard to figure out what is real and, perhaps more importantly, what matters. I believe it is helpful and meaningful to have a human in the loop, processing what is going on.
None of these media outlets added anything substantive to the original press release. They couldn’t! Because Nexa Edu is not a real company and did not raise $10M.
Nexa Edu is (probably) a poorly executed growth hack. Someone in Iceland (or VPNing through Iceland) came up with the idea for an EdTech company over the summer, bought the domain, “sourced” the content (I would be surprised if they developed it on their own), and figured the best way to build traffic to/legitimize the site was to make a fundraising announcement. ~$110 later - $10 for the domain, $99.95 for the press release - the “company” now has a bunch of links making it look legitimate.
Fortunately for everyone involved, the effort does not seem to have worked. Google trends data for the company is effectively 0. And the checkout cart on Nexa Edu’s website is broken, so anyone who did fall for it didn’t lose any money. (This is also what makes me think “growth hack.” A true scammer probably would have checked on that.)
I don’t bring up Nexa Edu to be a Cassandra. I don’t think anyone will lose sleep over the questionable legitimacy of one fundraising announcement, nor should they.
I bring Nexa Edu up to provide a simple example of the work I - through ETCH - am trying to do. In a world of influencers and aggregators and AI, I’m trying to figure out what is really happening in the world of education.
I don’t always get it right! But I’m trying to go about the work as earnestly as possible. It matters *to me* that last week AWS launched an EdTech accelerator, that undergraduate enrollment increased this fall, and that infant care now costs, on average, $45K/year in NYC. Those 3 things mattered to the 200+ of you who clicked each of those links on Sunday too.
So, with a preamble long enough to make a cooking blog jealous, ETCH the business is now 11 months old and 6 months out from introducing a paywall. We are close to hitting our Year 1 revenue target, but not quite there yet.
This is your chance to help!
If you are not a paid subscriber, I’d love for you to try it out (see trial offer below and/or ping me for corporate bundles). If you are a paid subscriber, or are looking for other ways to support ETCH, I’d also appreciate any referrals to hiring managers who might be interested in being members of the ETCH Jobs Community.
With that, on to today’s Funding + M&A Update, which covers Slooh’s recent funding round and acquisitions by Bibliu, Vector Solutions, and Rise In. And Instructure’s $800M(!) acquisition of Parchment.
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