Alumni Ventures Turns Its Network Into Subscribers for Synthesis

Synthesis is a online program for kids inspired by Elon Musk's school

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A prime example of AV’s value-add is our collaboration with Synthesis, an innovative learning experience created by the founder of a school for Elon Musk’s children. The program is designed to cultivate student voice, strategic thinking, and collaborative problem solving for kids ages 6 to 14.

Not only did we view Synthesis as an excellent investment opportunity, we felt that it had a strong product-market fit with our community. Our team connected with Co-Founder and CEO Chrisman Frank to produce an episode of AVTV, a video series that allows our portfolio companies to broadcast their elevator pitch and most salient asks to our community. Frank discussed his company’s inspiration, revolutionary value proposition, and vision of the future.

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The email campaign AV used to promote the video was a resounding success, with the content immediately generating traction:

  • 65% open rate
  • 32% sign-up conversion
  • 13% purchase conversion

Ultimately, our campaign generated $500,000 in ARR for Synthesis. We’re pleased that our collaborative promotional efforts with Synthesis resulted in real bottom-line contributions while showcasing the company’s product and core values to our community. The mutually beneficial arrangement is an ideal blueprint of how not only AV finds quality startups to invest in, but how we utilize our community and expertise to help those same companies grow.

“It’s a really great thing to chat with [AVTV] and speak directly to an audience that’s interested in what Synthesis is doing. It’s been helpful to connect to the network — other CEOs, founders, marketers — as a result of getting our message out there. To me, this enormous network was an incredibly compelling selling point.”
Chrisman Frank
Co-Founder & CEO of Synthesis

About Synthesis

Synthesis was added to the Alumni Ventures portfolio in 2020 when our team invested in the company’s $5 million Series A led by Pomp Investments. Synthesis’ commitment and passion to redefining traditional education along with its team’s passion as teachers epitomizes the types of impactful opportunities we aim to source for our investors.

Synthesis has designed a new educational experience that uses simulations, case studies, fabrication, design projects, strategic thinking, and collaborative problem solving to develop students that are enthralled by complexity and solving for the unknown. The company was profoundly influenced by Elon Musk’s Ad Astra school, which one of the co-founders helped create.

About the Founders

Chrisman Frank
Chrisman Frank
Co-Founder and CEO of Synthesis

Chrisman Frank was the first hire at ClassDojo where he served as an engineer, product designer, and growth marketer at one of the world's fastest-growing education technology companies. Its products are currently used by teachers at 1 in 3 US schools and 150 countries worldwide.

Joshua Dahn
Joshua Dahn
Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of Synthesis

Joshua Dahn serves as the Executive Director and founder of Astra Nova School in Los Angeles. Previously, Josh was the co-founder of Ad Astra School located on the campus of SpaceX from 2014-2020 and a Teach for America member.

Testimonials were provided by the participants without compensation. Each participant has a relationship with AV from which they benefit. All views expressed are the individual’s own. A potential conflict of interest could arise if a provider of a testimonial who is an investor expects more favorable investment opportunities or who is a representative of a portfolio company expects that follow-on investments are more likely after a positive testimonial, although AV does not believe any provider of testimonials to AV has any such expectations. AV further seeks to avoid or mitigate any such potential conflicts of interest by offering no special opportunities in exchange for a testimonial. The testimonials reflect editing by AV for clarity, but such editing is not intended to materially alter tone. The providers of these testimonials were not selected on objective or random criteria, but rather were selected based on AVG’s understanding of its relationship with the providers of the testimonials. Testimonials do not represent the experience of all AV fund investors or all companies in which AV funds invest.

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