Funding - An Insider's Perspective

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Join us for a conversation with two experienced EdTech investors. Get an insider’s view, learn how funding decisions are made and how to succeed with or without using outside capital. Topics include:

- why focusing on revenue/validation/evidence matters before raising investment/why traction matters, even before investment
- how to find/recognize investors that fit your company and stage of progress
- how to find free resources and advice

Speakers will be Ash Kaluarachchi, CoFounder, StartEd and Amy Jones, COO and Head of Education Technology and Services, 85 Advisors & Steven Freitas - Executive Managing Director, 85 Advisors

Ash Kaluarachchi, CoFounder, StartEd
Ash Kaluarachchi has directly advised and built partnerships for 5,000+ founders, educators, and investors solving problems in education innovation. As an advocate for entrepreneurs, he has advised, launched and operated multiple edtech accelerators, including for Techstars, the #1 startup accelerator and mentorship-driven seed stage investment fund in the world. He is Co-founder at StartEd (, which enables investment and ntensive mentorship via the world’s strongest network of mentors and investors in education innovation. He is Producer of NY EDTECH WEEK (, a global education innovation festival for global education leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, and educations. Ash has an MBA with a focus on entrepreneurship from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and economics from Grinnell University.

Amy Jones - COO and Head of Education Technology and Services, 85 Advisors

Amy Jones has nearly 20 years of education leadership and administration experience. Currently, she serves as the COO and Head of Education Services for 85 Advisors. 85 Advisors helps technology companies plan, analyze and execute successful growth and M&A strategies. Prior to joining 85 Advisors, she was Chief Academic Officer and Deputy Chief Executive for Special Education for the New York City Department of Education, the largest school system in the United States with 1.1 million students and a $24 billion operating budget. In addition, she oversaw numerous projects to reengineer instruction and systems for the multi-billion dollar Division of Specialized Instruction and Student Support, including learning management systems, management information systems, analytics, student information systems, inventory and ERP, personalized learning, assistive technology and accessibility of education materials. Earlier in her career, she served as a teacher, a school principal, an adjunct professor for online graduate courses, and Director of University Partnerships for Teach For America. Amy earned an M.A. in Organization and Leadership from Columbia University and a B.A. degree from Washington University in St. Louis. She currently serves on the New York board of Teach for America.

Steven Freitas - Executive Managing Director, 85 Advisors

Steven Freitas is the Founder and Executive Managing Director of 85 Advisors, a boutique mergers, acquisition, and growth advisory firm. Steven has 20 years of investment banking, strategic advisory, and technology industry research experience. Prior to founding 85 Advisors, he was Managing Partner at a leading technology-focused investment banking boutique in New York City where he oversaw all aspects of client engagements and transaction execution for a global client base of enterprise software, cybersecurity, and communications companies. Steven earned an M.B.A from Wake Forest University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Financial and Economic Studies from the University of Western Ontario.