By Andrew Koved
My idea of the typical startup is jeans, more laptops than known what to do with, and enough coffee to fill a swimming pool. And sure enough, at my first all-hands meeting at FundEdu, there were jean-wearing, laptop-toting people bounding towards the coffee machines.
I did get one piece wrong though, this is not just a typical startup, this is a group of workers building a company that is actually going places. Amongst all of the Silicon Valley ambition, the engineers and developers at FundEDU are dreaming bigger and brighter. FundEDU, conveniently shortened to FEDU, is a site for crowdfunding of education, allowing people from across the globe to support a fellow denizen’s dream of learning.
The promise and zeal towards creating change was evident just by talking with my coworkers, all of who have fully embraced FEDU’s notion of crowdfinding. Crowdfinding is the idea that all of us can help other people –regardless of location– realize their dreams by funding their education. In a world where everything is connected and aspirations can be realized with the click of a button, capital should not remain tethered to a checkbook.
The constant static of Skype conversations, the shouts from other conference rooms, and the animated engineers are all reminders that FEDU is just launching –or that we’ve had too much coffee– but this level of energy is commensurate with the scale of FEDU.
Too often startups emerge locally and then grow out; expanding piece-by-piece, taking time to go global. Not FEDU. First on the list was India, where our first projects launched more than a month ago and was just recently visited by Chet. FEDU is promising to facilitate education around the world, and we have already made a really strong start.
Having graduated from college this past May, I have spent the majority of life in school; in one-way or another, I have been engaged in education for the past decade and a half. To understand global inequality is to know that people’s education level is not a choice but a statement of fiscal reality, a tough realization for a person who has spent their whole life in academia.
In taking on the challenges of education, FEDU is committing itself to solving a massive problem, and joining a field with many institutional and entrenched organizations. The goal of FEDU is to upset the balance of power, where instead of the big charities deciding where the money is funneled, individuals can log on and contribute directly to people to a person’s future. The launch of FEDU is important because it hands the power back to the average person and allows individuals to fund difference making.
Joining FEDU has been an exciting process, one where moving at a frenetic pace is enjoyable because the mission is so clear: Fund Education. As my first meeting wrapped up, we ended on a slide that really captured my concept of FEDU’s mission. The slide said “Why do we FEDU? Because where you live shouldn’t determine how you live”.