Founders' Corner

Introducing Edtech Playbooks

When we started Reach, we began assembling resources for our founders in a repository called ReachIn. We contracted with trusted specialists in different functions (HR, sales, marketing and many others) to build playbooks tailored to the specific needs of the education sector. We gathered publicly available materials that are best in class. When there was a gap, we created our own materials including market maps and edtech metrics benchmarking. We curated directories of experts and consultants that have helped take our companies to the next level.

Today, we are opening up ReachIn and making many of these materials available to all, to help anyone building at the intersection of learning and technology. This is V1 of Edtech Playbooks, a public collection of resources that have been immensely valuable to our portfolio companies as they grow.

Some resources, like the K-12 Sales Playbook, are unique to and commissioned by Reach. Many others are provided by trusted third parties — friends, founders, co-investors, peers, experts and smart people in education, technology, startup and venture capital. These resources are attributed to their authors, and who deserve our deepest thanks 🙏🏻.

We also invite you to contribute to this public resource. If you have materials that have been game-changing for your startup, please share them here. 

Reach is based in San Francisco and we’re so lucky to have access to the rich density of startup methodology resources here. When we started, most of our founders were in the Bay Area (and most still are), but our pipeline is more geographically diverse than ever before. We now have more investments outside Silicon Valley including companies headquartered in Boise, Copenhagen and Barcelona.

With over 100 companies now in our portfolio — and many that are globally scaled — we mine this network for successful approaches like Nearpod’s teacher ambassador program. When we can, we codify these methods and share them with the broader community, primarily through blogs and reports (the “Learn” tab) on our website. 

As educators, we recognize that a repository of materials isn’t the most dynamic of learning experiences. But sometimes you just need to reference a template or a playbook that fits your needs. We hope this resource is helpful; it will evolve as our Fund does.  

Below are materials that I keep coming back to and share the most:

  • K-12 Buyer Persona (commissioned) by Winning By Design: If you are new to selling into K-12 school districts, this deck is designed to describe the alphabet soup of  buyers and decision makers (CAO, CIO, etc), what they do and their pain points. This is especially useful for our non-US founders who are trying to sell into U.S. districts.
  • Intuit’s Design for Delight and Customer Driven Innovation Process: Intuit founder Scott Cook hosted a wonderful workshop for our founders on Intuit’s customer driven innovation process, contextualized for edtech. This is the deck he used. This deck has a lot of great templates like Leap of Faith Assumptions, Follow-me Home Guide, Customer Problem Statements. In edtech, especially B2B, we need products developed with deep customer empathy. This deck provides guiding frameworks tested and honed by Intuit, one of the world’s most innovative companies.
  • How to Superpower your Retention Analysis: By our very own James Kim, this post describes why and how to measure, track and learn from retention data. Retention data is key to understanding how customers are interacting with your product and it’s especially critical to edtech companies which often address a narrow slice of a learner’s life. Although written five years ago, we use this constantly; in fact, we used it this week with a portfolio company.
  • John Danner’s Product-Market Fit Series: Tech veteran John Danner created this canonical series on the process of finding product-market fit. John offers super tactical guidance for how to achieve PM-fit with metrics for every stage. I really appreciate how John wrote this piece in an easily digestible format around a hypothetical founder’s journey.
  • Biz Dev for Startups: Wayee Chu’s husband Ethan Beard (Google, Meta, Ripple) did an AMA for us on BD for startups that received a high NPS. This is a simple deck he used for the AMA with clear, no-nonsense advice.

There are so many others I love, including “When Should I Hire My First Salesperson?” by Nearpod co-founder Guido Kovalskys, and the many market deep dives we publish. Most recently, our ReimagineWork report is especially rich and data heavy on the future of work.

A special thank you to the many contributors and authors we read regularly: Lenny Rachitsky, a16z, Iconiq, Open View Partners, MDR, Needham, BMO, RedRock Reports, Tyton, Omidyar, First Five Years Fund, Steve Blank, Goldman Sachs, CompTIA, Transcend, Homebrew, First Round Review, Hired, Xapo, Brad Porter, Pave, Delian Asparouhov, Sequoia, Y Combinator, Mark Suster, Brad Feld, Cooley, Common Sense Media, Adam Heller, Scott Cook, John Danner, Orrick, EdSurge, Enjoy the Work, Carta, Tomas Tunguz, Brighteye Ventures, Winning By Design, Jacco van der Kooij, Graham Forman, Gib Biddle, Brad Smith, Matt Mochary, Jimmy Montchal, Berkery Noyes, Student Privacy Compass, Ethan Beard and Oppenheimer.

We hope these resources can be of help to all education entrepreneurs, current or aspiring. If we can be of any help, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.