Shauntel Poulson, Reach Capital

upstarts reach capital

Venture capital was never on Shauntel Poulson's radar.

Not only because she was black and a woman ("I didn't have role models that looked like me") but because she saw herself developing products.

A chemical engineer from MIT, she went to Stanford Business School with the intention of getting into education tech.

Instead, Poulson landed a job as a partner at NewSchools, an Oakland-based nonprofit VC for education startups.

In February, NewSchools spun out a for-profit investing firm, Reach Capital, where Poulson, 31, is a co-founder and general partner. The fund aims to help underserved communities and has made three investments in ed-tech startups to date.

"The focus is on ensuring all students, no matter their backgrounds, have access to high-quality education to be successful in their lives," she said.

And Paulson said the team's diverse makeup will help them do just that.

"We can source different opportunities because of our unique backgrounds," said Poulson. -- S.O.

First published June 24, 2015: 8:22 AM ET