The Download: D.C. education technology start-up Quad Learning tackles college affordability

Written by: Steven Overly, The Washington Post

“Phil Bronner describes himself as a kid who was “all over the place.” “My dad had to keep his foot in my behind to keep me focused,” he said. That was some foot. Bronner earned a degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1992, followed by graduate degrees in law and business from the University of Pennsylvania. For Bronner, education didn’t end there. He spent 12 years as an investor at Novak Biddle Venture Partners, a Bethesda-based venture capital firm, where he financed several education technology companies. Last year, Bronner started his own with co-founder Chris Romer, a former Colorado state senator. “When I look back over my venture career, I tended to get involved in companies very early, and I was very active,” Bronner said. “Operating a company is very different from being an investor, but I think I had a reasonable lens, given how active I was with my portfolio.” His latest, District-based Quad Learning, looks to bring down the expense of higher education by making it more appealing for students to spend their first two years at lower-cost community colleges. They then transfer to four-year institutions. The company created a selective program called American Honors that allows community colleges to offer rigorous instruction and personalized advising that replicates the academic caliber and classroom dynamic found at some four-year universities.”