The pandemic has created new opportunity for portfolio companies, particularly in some verticals. For Union Square Ventures, the venture capital firm behind Twitter, Etsy and Lending Club, online education has been that lucky vertical. The firm was an early investor in several companies doing well in the pandemic: Outschool, Duolingo, Quizlet and Skillshare. With kids out of school, parents looked for online tools to help their kids learn (or just keep them occupied in productive ways so the parents could work), creating a sudden rush of demand for these online education services.

The investments are part of USV’s current investment thesis, focused on broadening access “to knowledge, capital, and well-being by leveraging networks, platforms, and protocols.”

USV partner Rebecca Kaden spoke with John Battelle about how the firm is thinking about investments going forward.