SALT LAKE CITY – NewU Venture Partners, GP, LLC (NUVP) today announced the appointment of André “Dre” Bennin as the fund’s Managing Partner. Bennin brings nearly a decade of experience in corporate development, fund management, operations leadership, and government relations to the ed-tech venture fund.
Bennin joins the fund in partnership with Nick Efstratis and Kent Madsen of Epic Ventures, LLP (EPIC)—an early-stage, technology-focused venture capital firm with a 20-year track record of successful investing. The trio will lead the fund’s investment committee, which is tasked with the planning and oversight of investment objectives.
Prior to joining NUVP, Bennin served as Managing Director of Corporate Development for the Strada Education Network, working as investment lead on several direct minority investments and fund investments. He previously served as Senior Operations Director for the Office of the Governor of Indiana, where he helped oversee the creation of the state’s $250 million venture capital, private equity, and private credit investment vehicle.
“NUVP’s focus on investing in innovations that can improve outcomes for millions of people appealed to me,” said Bennin. “As someone who’s passionate about higher education, technology, and workforce development, I am committed to ensuring that NUVP has the kind of impact we envision, and that it’s a win-win for investors and startups who share our mission.”
The venture fund was established to invest in transformative endeavors across the student lifecycle to expand access, improve quality, and increase outcomes, broadening pathways between talent and opportunity. It focuses on products, practices, technologies, and new business models that have the potential to transform quality, access, and outcomes in the learning-to-earning lifecycle, with a bias toward student impact and large-scale potential.
NUVP is a subsidiary of the Corporation of Western Governors University (WGU), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) created to expand innovation and accelerate transformation consistent with the mission and vision of WGU. The fund’s focus is on accelerating innovation across the learner lifecycle, including access and affordability, readiness on-ramps, learning outcomes, student experience, and workforce transition/upskilling.
“NUVP is unlike other ed-tech venture capital funds because it’s based on the power of efficacy and outcomes that have the potential to improve quality in education and expand access to opportunity for tens of millions of individuals,” said Scott Pulsipher, President of WGU. “Dre’s diverse background is an asset to NUVP because he has experience as a limited partner in multiple funds and also knows how to source and evaluate investment opportunities that align with the fund’s priorities—and, more importantly, with our mission at WGU.”
Bennin holds a bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology and a jurisprudence doctorate from Brigham Young University. He has served as a board member or advisor for several prominent higher education, technology, and investment organizations, including Edquity, Roadtrip Nation, Upswing, BrightHive, Cell-Ed, GSV Venture Funds, and Riipen.
Established in 2018, NUVP is a fund formed and sponsored by the Corporation of WGU and in partnership with EPIC, to catalyze a global initiative to develop the innovation that will redefine a post-secondary education that supports the future of work, improves quality, expands access, and optimizes outcomes for the next century.