Obviously The Future
Obviously The Future
Matching the Right School for You with Chris Neilson

Matching the Right School for You with Chris Neilson

Ep 10 | Chris Neilson, industrial organization for schools, increasing competition, closing the digital divide in schools, implementing government policy

Why do great schools have empty spots? Why don’t schools compete fiercely for students? How does reducing microfrictions increase economic growth?

Professor Chris Neilson is not your typical founder. He was born in the heart of Silicon Valley to undocumented immigrants from Chile. He is a former elite professional rugby player and has advised education policy for governments across the globe, the World Bank, and the IDB. He is a Professor of Economics and Global Affairs at Yale and has devoted his career to helping partners make the best education choices.

Chris has always believed that the market inefficiency in the schooling market was fixable, that technology-based solutions are inevitable, and that he would be leading the charge to build them.

In this episode, we talk about Chris’s childhood education experiences, his early entrepreneurial and athletic leanings, his successful research career at Yale & Princeton, and his most recent venture as CEO of Tether Education. At Tether, he is implementing his research at speed and scale. Tether is creating a connected network of schools and students through a digital platform. No school would be left behind.

What does Chris see as obviously the future?

  • The middle class in Latin America is growing.

  • As people get wealthier, education grows as a percent of GDP.

  • Governments aren’t getting efficient at the same rate. They are slow to keep up with new technology and updated regulations.

  • Despite the increase in digital innovation within the education sector, there is a risk that access to quality education may become even more unequal than it is today.

  • Ensuring efficient and equitable access to education requires a well-designed digital platform infrastructure to provide a  well-functioning market of choice, promote competition, and speed up the adoption of innovations. 

  • Governments and small businesses in education will need help to stay connected to the frontier of technology and innovation and not fall behind. 

Today, Tether and Chris prove this thesis by matching parents to schools and daycares across Latin America and tethering schools to a platform to increase digitization.

Chris is an unstoppable force with a massive vision and an insatiable desire to succeed. In the full interview, learn more about his journey and what he’s building at Tether.

We cover:

  • Removing ‘micro frictions’ to achieve more economic growth

  • Increasing choice and competition in the school and daycare market

  • Fixing equity gaps by providing a platform for better decisions

  • The digital divide in schools is even bigger post-Covid

  • Academia vs Startup life: Having skin in the game with your VC

  • Being an athlete, learning quickly, and building a team

Please comment below.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, reactions, and questions.

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Avalanche VC is an investor in Tether Education. Katelyn is on the advisory board.

Obviously The Future
Obviously The Future
Obviously the Future explores the massive trends that will shape our world in conversation with the trailblazers, non-conformists, and hidden experts who are building tomorrow today.