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Meet Your Crowdfund Lead: Mike Baur

April 1, 2023

First things first, tell everyone a little bit about you. How would you define yourself personally and professionally? 
If someone has met me in the flesh, I’d hope a key takeaway that person would have is “Wow, that guy is passionate, investment-savvy, technologically-aware, and he authentically wants to solve big problems…particularly within Education.” As a full-time #GirlDad, I want to change the education environment my girls are learning in daily. I’m beyond grateful for the opportunities that have put me in my current role, and also know  how much more work there is to do to bring effective teaching & learning practice into the modern era.   

Top three career highlights in education and tech: 

  1. Helped lead a strategic focus within Amazon Web Services’ EdTech vertical that is scaling ground-breaking technologies across the worldwide EdTech sector while improving the lives of students, teachers, and parents. 
  2. Helped invest millions of philanthropic dollars with the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation around data-driven education practices while starting several organizations and initiatives specific to addressing awareness for better “data interoperability” practice in Education Technology.
  3. Brought a major product line to market which is now used by more than 2,000 universities worldwide.

What has your career taught you about what makes a successful enterprise tech company serving the K12 market?
Relationships + Talented/Empathetic Leadership + Execution + Patient Capital = Successful EdTech company 

What are the trends that you’re watching in K12 this year?
Generative Artificial Intelligence (e.g. ChatGPT)

How did you get involved with BenchK12?
Brooke and I have known each other for years and worked together in different capacities at various organizations. I have been a big fan of her ability to “Think Big” as an educator and also seen her ability to execute with precision and quality as a consultant and educational leader. She asked me to join as an advisor on technology and sales strategy. 

Why did you decide to not only invest in BenchK12, but serve as our lead investor? 
When I saw the shocking data of what is happening with teacher and substitute shortages nationwide and how easily current technology could remedy this for the current, and arguably more importantly, next generation, the foundation of what BenchK12 is building is a no brainer. When I see the equation I laid out above coming to fruition, I not only want to invest my time, but also my own capital.

When you look ahead ten years, where do you see BenchK12 headed as a company?
The numbers don’t lie. The data is real. The total addressable market for what BenchK12 is offering to the market is incredible. Contingent the State Education Agencies involved complete their pilots and roll to production (which is moving forward rapidly!), the scope of where BenchK12 could go is quite remarkable. I can’t fathom how impactful the company will be in 10 years but I do see success to be highly probable.