From Rural Roots to Edtech Entrepreneur: Sabari Raja, Managing Partner at JFFVentures, shares her Remarkable Purpose-led Journey

The main problem we were solving was that kids are learning things in the classroom, without any real-world relevance behind what they’re learning.
– Sabari Raja

Take a listen to Sabari Raja’s captivating journey, from her roots on a coconut farm in South India to the forefront of entrepreneurship and impact investment in the Edtech space. Join host Debbie Goodman on this episode of the On Work and Revolution podcast as she digs into Sabari’s inspiring trajectory – from co-founding Nepris (now Pathful, Inc.) and overcoming fundraising hurdles and stereotypes surrounding impact-driven ventures. 

After a successful exit via a merger transforming Nepris into a comprehensive career readiness platform, Sabari went on to lead JFF Ventures, spearheading an impact-first fund dedicated to solutions that empower economic mobility for low to middle-wage workers. Sabari’s story encapsulates the evolution of Edtech, overcoming hurdles, and pioneering impact-focused innovation in the education and workforce space.

Debbie and Sabari explore the following topics that EdTech leaders and founders should pay close attention to:

  • The Purpose-led Entrepreneurial Journey: Sabari shares her remarkable entrepreneurial journey, from co-founding Nepris to navigating fundraising challenges and breaking stereotypes about impact-focused ventures.
  • Merger Success: The conversation delves into the story of Nepris, its evolution into Pathful, Inc., and the strategies behind a successful merger, providing valuable insights for leaders in the EdTech space.
  • Impact-First Investing: Sabari’s role at JFF Ventures is discussed, highlighting the focus on impact-first investing and technology solutions for enhancing economic mobility among low to middle-wage workers.

About our guest, Sabari Raja:

Sabari Raja is Managing Partner at JFFVentures, an early stage impact fund that partners with entrepreneurs to build solutions at the intersection of education, workforce development, and human potential.

Earlier, she co-founded Nepris, an impact-focused edtech platform connecting students to industry experts to bring real world relevance and career exposure to all students.  As an entrepreneur, she raised investment capital from impact and venture investors and led the company through early growth and eventual acquisition by a private equity firm in 2021. Post-acquisition, she assisted the company with the leadership transition, merger, and rebranding (Pathful, Inc) and continues to remain on the board of Pathful, Inc.

She is an active angel investor and limited partner in companies/funds focused on innovation in education and workforce with a passion for supporting diverse founders. She is a member of Hustle Fund Angel squad, Senior Advisor at New Markets Venture Partners, and a mentor at StartEd. She enjoys sharing her experiences to guide entrepreneurs through their startup journey. 

She was the 2020 EY Entrepreneur of the Year winner for the southwest region. Her journey and story has been captured in publications such as “Innovate Hers – Why purpose driven entrepreneurial women rise to top” and “Who you know – Unlocking students social capital”.

Sabari has an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from India, master’s in computer science, and an Executive MBA from Cox School of Business, SMU. She lives in Austin, Texas and is also a busy mom with 2 boys, one a high school junior and one heading to college this year.

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