- Mark Cuban, the Shark Tank regular and Dallas Mavericks owner, has become an ed-tech investor with stakes in four companies with which he maintains close contact. Cuban is also a vocal critic of the current state of higher education.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education reports Cuban has invested in Copley Systems, which helps colleges keep students on the path to graduation by tracking academic activities; Degreed, which developed a digital portfolio platform; Packback, which connects online communities of students and instructors who use the same books; and Ranku, which targets online student recruitment and enrollment.
- Cuban has helped the founders of each company get ahead faster, using his star power to recruit other investors. His key critiques of higher education are student debt, an over-reliance on adjuncts, and wasteful spending on buildings like stadiums, food courts and fitness centers that depreciate quickly and require continual maintenance.
When the Walton Family Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan made large education contributions, critics said the philanthropists have too much say in education policy because their money controls the conversation.
Cuban may avoid the fray with companies looking to solve "pain points" in the higher education industry. Cuban's motives seem to be more about the disruption of certain elements of the industry and less about shaping education policy or overthrowing traditional higher ed.