Fix The Education, Fix The World

  
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To investors,

Today I am announcing that I have led a $5 million Series A investment in Synthesis, which is the education spin-out from the school that Elon Musk custom built for his own children.

If you remember, I previously led the seed round of the company about two and a half months ago. Here is what I wrote about the business at the time:

“The traditional school system teaches our children rote memorization and measures success based on end of year test results. This is not the best way to prepare young children for the real world. The system leaves children lacking critical thinking skills, along with problem solving, independent thought, creativity, and teamwork experience.

Elon Musk realized this years ago and decided to build a school on the SpaceX campus for his own children. Musk partnered with Josh Dahn to create Ad Astra, which became the educational experience that he believed would be best for the children that he wanted to raise. Ad Astra (now known as Astra Nova) uses simulations, case studies, fabrication and design projects, labs, and corporate collaboratives to develop students that are enthralled by complexity and solving for the unknown.

The only problem is that the Astra Nova experience was only available to a select few families who could get into the program. But Josh Dahn, the co-creator of Astra Nova, wanted to bring this game-changing educational program to the masses.

Enter Synthesis.

Josh Dahn has teamed up with Chrisman Frank, an early employee at ClassDojo, to create a software based solution that puts children ages 7-14 through the one-of-a-kind program. These children are taught critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, creativity, independent thought, and teamwork. Simply, Synthesis prepares children for the real world in a way that the traditional education system does not.”

At the time of the seed round, Synthesis had gone from $0 to $1 million in annualized recurring revenue in approximately 3 months. Fast forward to today and the company is now doing more than $3 million in annualized recurring revenue. So why are thousands of parents signing their children up for this enhanced educational experience?

Easy…it actually works. 

The lack of critical thinking and problem solving skills being taught in our education system should be a national emergency. Rather than complain about it, the team at Synthesis is doing something about it. Josh and Chrisman have put together an incredible team, including former teachers like Ana Lorena Fabrega and others.

If you want your child to be more proficient and better prepared for the real world, you should consider signing up here: https://www.synthesis.is/

The company has been growing incredibly fast. They have seen 50% monthly compounded growth since the start of November and are now doing over $3 million in annual run rate. More than 85% of all students stay in the program after 90 days.

I’m joined in this round by a list of other incredible investors, including Sahil Lavingia, Bobby Goodlatte, Shane Parrish, Austin Rief, Polina Pompliano, Brianne Kimmel, Julian Shapiro, Steven Galanis, Kat Cole, Sam Parr, Zac Prince, Ryan Denehy, Shaan Puri, Andrew Wilkinson, Melanie Shapiro, Ryan Shea, Matt James, Matteo Franceschetti, Jack Butcher, Matthew Delladova, Jeff Richards, Andrew Spellman, Jayni Shah, John Danner, and Alan Rutledge.

We have assembled an incredible team of operators and investors with one simple mission — educate your child with the problem solving and critical thinking skills that will prepare them for success in life. If that sounds compelling to you, you really should consider giving it a try.

Sign up your child for Synthesis: https://www.synthesis.is/

The world deserves to have a society filled with innovators, entrepreneurs, and creatives. Help us, help your child. Have a great day and I’ll talk to everyone tomorrow.

-Pomp


This installment of The Pomp Letter is free for everyone. I send this email to our investors daily. If you would also like to receive it every morning, join the 160,000 other investors today.


THE RUNDOWN:

Coinbase Boosts Compensation, Will No Longer Negotiate During Hiring: In a series of changes affecting compensation and incentives at the cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase said it’s eliminating negotiations on salary and equity from its recruiting process. In a blog post, Coinbase also said it's increased cash and equity compensation – from the 50th percentile amongst the company's peers to the 75th – across the entire firm. Read more.

Ark Investment’s Cathie Wood Joins Board of 21Shares Parent: Ark Investment Management CEO Cathie Wood has joined the board of cryptocurrency platform Amun Holdings, the parent company of 21Shares, which specializes in exchange-traded products. Wood announced Monday she has joined Amun’s board after personally investing in the operator of 21Shares AG, according to a Bloomberg report. She met the Amun team at a conference in 2019. Read more.

Cboe Kicks Fidelity-Linked Bitcoin ETF Application to SEC: Another would-be bitcoin exchange-traded fund has taken a step toward regulatory review. Cboe BZX Exchange has filed a 19b-4 form, acknowledging its support of Wise Origin’s bitcoin ETF application and kicking the process to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Wise Origin, a fund affiliated with investment giant Fidelity, first filed for the ETF with the SEC in March. However, the SEC needs an exchange partner like Cboe or NYSE Arca to file a corresponding 19b-4 form before it will begin considering the application. Read more.

Sean Culkin, Latest NFL Player to Announce Bitcoin Salary, Cut From Chiefs: Sean Culkin, the NFL tight end who made headlines last month by planning to convert all of his salary to bitcoin, has been cut from the Kansas City Chiefs, a team spokesman confirmed to CoinDesk. Culkin was seeking to one-up Russell Okung, the NFL offensive tackle who started converting half his salary into bitcoin starting late last year. That said, Okung’s contract was for $13 million; Culkin’s was set for $920,000. Read more.

Babel Finance Raises $40M From Zoo Capital, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global: Three years after its inception, crypto financial service provider Babel Finance is racking up fundings and partnerships from major institutional investors. The startup said Monday that it has closed a $40 million Series A round, with lead investors including Zoo Capital, Sequoia Capital China, Dragonfly Capital, Bertelsmann and its Asian fund BAI Capital, and Tiger Global Management. Read more.


LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE OF THE POMP PODCAST HERE


Chrisman Frank is the co-founder and CEO of Synthesis, a new educational experience for children aged 8-14 that focuses on teaching problem solving and critical thinking skills.

In this conversation, Chrisman and I discuss:

  • Industrial education complex

  • Why students are suffering

  • How teachers fit into the system

  • Why the old model doesn’t work

  • How Synthesis works

  • The current traction of the business

  • What parents are saying

I really enjoyed this conversation with Chrisman. Hopefully you enjoy it too.

LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE OF THE POMP PODCAST HERE


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