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Educator credentialing startup BenchK12 launches crowdfund with ambitions to end the teacher shortage

March 31, 2023

Support from friends, family and investment group FBomb Angels helped launch the BenchK12 public round with $100K of its $250K goal.

Minneapolis, Minnesota — March 31, 2023 — Technology startup BenchK12 announced the launch of its equity crowdfund — also known as their community round — today allowing anyone with $100 or more to invest in the company, which aims to modernize the educator credentialing, hiring and placement process for states, schools and teachers.

“The educator shortage has reached crisis levels. While this is a complex issue, there are two root causes that can be solved with better technology. First, we need to remove the unnecessary friction from state credentialing processes, many of which are still paper-based and take months for candidates to complete. Second, we need to ensure that substitutes are placed in vacancies where they can provide value and are supported so we can retain them. Our solution addresses both of these needs so that substitute educators are empowered at every step of their K12 career and that full-time educators, schools, and most importantly students get the support they need to succeed,” says BenchK12 President and Founder, Brooke Barrett.

BenchK12 announced the launch of their community round having raised $100,000 of its $250,000 goal, thanks to a $45,000 boost from its latest investment partner, FBA Capital — more affectionately known as the FBomb Angels — a women’s angel group affiliated with The FBomb Breakfast Club, a peer support community for women founders, business owners, freelancers and creators.

“As a DEI and Culture practitioner, I am proud to support BenchK12 in creating a positive and impactful future of work that is accessible and equitable for teachers,” says FBomb Angel investor Kimfer Flanery-Rye. “BenchK12 is an innovative startup that not only makes it easier to find great teachers but will also help build a brighter future for students. I am excited to see the positive impact that BenchK12 will have on the education system, and I am proud to be a part of this important mission with my fellow FBomb Angels.”

In addition to adding momentum to BenchK12’s mission and crowdfund, the $45,000 investment serves as the FBomb Angels inaugural equity investment and represents a major milestone for both partners. The amount was awarded to the technology company for winning the annual Pitches 2 Bitches competition hosted by The FBomb Breakfast Club in October 2022, adding to $55,000 in funds already committed by friends, family and strategic partners.

Barrett’s reaction to the win and investment was initially one of shock given the amazing companies that also participated in the pitch competition. “On behalf of our entire team at BenchK12, we could not be more honored to be FBA’s inaugural investment, nor could we be more grateful to have this amazing partner and community of successful women entrepreneurs behind us.”

According to a recent paper published by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, the substitute challenge, alone, has built a multi-billion dollar industry that has an overall marketplace that is larger than Lyft, Uber and taxis combined. “It’s my belief that BenchK12 can be a unicorn as it pertains to valuation,” said Mike Baur, Head of EdTech strategy for AWS and BenchK12’s lead investor for the community round. “I invested because I believe BenchK12 has an innovative, thoughtful approach, the right solution, and a best-in-class team who understands the K12 ecosystem and how technology is implemented and used at an enterprise level today.”

The company hopes this early momentum will help pave the way for future investors in BenchK12’s community crowdfund and beyond. The funds invested will be used to help propel additional product development and launch an upcoming pilot with its first state education agency partner — one of six states that have indicated interest in the solution.

About BenchK12

BenchK12 is the future of work for K12 educators, starting with substitute teachers. We remove the friction from the educator credentialing process to solve the teacher shortage and we support teachers once they are in the classroom with modern technology to help them advance their careers and ensure student success. To support our crowdfund, please visit

About FBomb Angels

FBomb Angels is a subsidiary of The FBomb Breakfast Club, a community of women who talk like truckers and build badass companies. In our community, Black lives matter, trans women are women, and we lift each other up, not tear each other down. We learn together, laugh together, and get shit done, together. Big shit. Legacy building shit. Join our community here:


Media Contact:

Yanique Taylor
Director, Engagement
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