Well-Schooled in Education Innovation
We know you benefit more when we open doors, rather than offer handouts. Our goal is to be a partner who can help you build your business, locate the right talent, shape your culture, access the necessary resources, and guide your company to achieve success.
In 1999, Frank Bonsal, Jr., co-founder of New Enterprise Associates, launched Bonsal Capital on the belief that seed-stage funding is critical to a thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem, and that finding, mentoring, and supporting the right founders is paramount to ecosystem success.
Since our founding, we have validated tens of thousands of prospective venture investments and have garnered a reputation as pioneers in education technology investing, moreover venture financing. In other words, by working with us, you get more than an investment and reporting expectations — you get a partner, with deep knowledge of and networks in the industry, who will guide your company through its growth trajectory.
By The Numbers
years investing in education
million end users impacted
education company exits
Frank Bonsal III
Frank Bonsal III is a pioneer in the fields of education innovation, technology, and investment and has demonstrated sustained empathy for the education end user.
Frank Bonsal Jr.
Frank Bonsal Jr. is an internationally acclaimed venture capitalist with decades of direct and indirect (fund) investing experience in the USA and abroad.
Our Mission is Your Success
At Bonsal Capital, we don’t follow traditional investment methodologies. We take a different approach. Because we have worked alongside them, we understand the needs of today’s “edupreneurs,” their end users and customers, and we make their success our priority. We’d rather open doors to prospects and investors, for instance, than offer a handout. With decades of experience as educators, venture capitalists, and ecosystem leaders, Bonsal Capital seeks to empower founders to find the right resources for their needs, to support the growth of their companies, so they can better serve their end users and customers.
Bonsal Capital is a mission-driven partnership, and supporting education has been a core driver since our founding in 1999. With decades of experience in education as investors, practitioners, and volunteers, our principals have authentically grown a partnership that seeks founders and leaders who want to make a positive impact with a product and/or service, and who keep prospective scale and sustainability at the forefront. We support the growth of companies focused on tech-enabled services in education, and we have invested in and partnered with more than 20 such companies over the past two decades, providing human and financial capital, as well as other resources, that have made a positive impact on tens of millions of end users.
We believe that, by fostering education, we can make the world a better place and feel good about our place in it. Join us on this mission.
Bonsal Capital’s founding and managing principals were born and raised in Baltimore, so it seems fitting that Bonsal Capital invests in and supports entrepreneurs and companies started and grown in Baltimore, Washington DC, and the Capital Region. Our founder also founded NEA, the earliest venture capital firm in the region, and is directly and indirectly responsible for catalyzing entrepreneurship in the Capital Region since the late 1970s. Our connections and networks include all manner of a startup’s functional needs, and we connect as many dots and open as many doors as we are able.
We understand that seed- and early-stage venture investment has a heavy tilt toward those founders who define a problem they intend to solve and can scale up. Our approach to this founder support is simple. We ask each prospective founder four basic questions:
- Who are you?
- How did you get here?
- Where do you want to go?
- How can Bonsal Capital help you get there?
Depending on the answers to these queries, we determine next steps and a course of personalized action designed to help yield the best outcome. Our goal is to be a partner who can help you build your business, locate the right talent, shape your culture, access necessary resources, and achieve your goals.
We have partnered with and invested in more than 20 education companies since our founding in 1999. Each one has a unique story to tell; most have been successful, but some have not produced the desired outcomes. We have helped and learned along the way with them. Below are some of our companies.
Student Opportunity Center
“Bonsal Capital gets it. They embody the aspiration of doing well by doing good. We’ve had the benefit of Frank’s strategic advice and counsel both in our current venture, Faculty Guild, and previously with Starfish Retention Solutions. It has always been clear that he cares about the education community and wants to see meaningful solutions have a chance to make a difference.”
“Bonsal Capital has served as an investment partner and strategic advisor to Allovue for over 6 years, practically since our inception. With over two decades of experience in venture capital and education, Frank has been a tremendous resource to me as a first-time founder. He demonstrated a clear understanding of both the nuances of our industry and the tactical mechanics of starting and growing a venture-backed business. No matter the topic, Frank has seen it before and provides invaluable guidance on the peaks and pitfalls of start-ups.”
Jess Gartner, founder & CEO, Allovue
“Bonsal Capital is exactly the type of investor every founder hopes to have on their team. The firm has a clear 'founder-first' ethos, really works to be helpful however they can, and they truly share our passion for education. Their deep domain expertise, large rolodex, and history investing in and supporting some of the biggest edtech success stories are exactly what founders need to build world-class companies. Additionally, Frank is an all-around great guy and a pleasure to work with.”
Chris Freire, founder & CEO, Student Opportunity Center
“Bonsal Capital is uniquely positioned. Not only are its principals savvy, successful investors with an impressive track record, but their depth of knowledge and passion for education and edtech is unparalleled. With this depth of understanding of the industry, they identify the "zebras" - then roll up their sleeves to mentor, advise, network, and nurture. They are an integral part of our team.”
Beth Lawrence, co-founder & CEO, InferCabulary
“Bonsal Capital brings a unique combination of classroom passion and boardroom savvy to the EdTech ecosystem. The ultimate problem-solvers, Bonsal Capital's principals are masterful in helping entrepreneurs pave scalable pathways to sustainability and high growth. Torchlight benefits significantly from Frank's multifaceted role as mentor, investor and community builder.”
Adam Goldberg, founder & CEO, Torchlight