Top Hat - Why We Invested

Today we are excited to announce our investment in Top Hat, the platform that is enabling universities, professors and students to learn together in the only way that makes sense today.

The way in which university students learn and are educated has to adapt. How students collaborate, the tools they use, and both their expectations and the expectations placed on them necessitate a modern approach to learning.

Over 19 million students in the USA alone will pass through higher education institutions this year. Despite the emergence of new platforms for learning like Khan Academy and other MOOCs, formal higher education remains the most important channel through which future generations are educated before pursuing their professional lives.

As younger generations of students enroll in universities, so too do the expectations those students have of their institutions. Just as the consumerization of IT forced enterprise software companies to provide the user experience and capabilties its younger customers demanded, educators must now provide learning experiences that use the same modern technology constructs that their students interact with in every other facet of their lives.  Top Hat is the key platform that empowers educators to make this shift to the learning experience of today.

A great idea is only as good as the team that can execute on it, and what made this decision so easy was the quality of the leadership team at Top Hat. Mike Silagadze, CEO and Founder of Top Hat, and his executive team have demonstrated a relentless focus on empowering educators to make learning fun and effective. Their view of the higher education world is compelling and we share their enthusiasm of using technology to produce better learning outcomes.

Today, Top Hat extends its vision of empowering educators as it launches Top Hat Marketplace – an alternative product offering to traditional textbook publishers, where professors can publish, share, and collaborate with peers on course materials. This launch will not only transform how professors author, adopt and collaborate on textbooks in the future, but will also help to relieve the already high financial burden that the traditional textbook industry helps place on students.

At Leaders Fund, we are excited to use our collective experiences building and scaling companies to the benefit of TopHat. We look forward to working alongside them to help them grow faster.  The journey ahead is full of promise, and we look forward to playing our part.

We are also equally excited to the see impact TopHat will have in making secondary education more economical, effective and enjoyable for all students.

For more on the announcement: