citybiz+ Tusk Venture Partners Leads $10M Series A for Edtech Startup Odyssey

New York-based Tusk Ventures has led a $10 million Series A funding round for edtech startup Odyssey. Other investors in the New York firm include Andreessen Horowitz, Cubit Capital and Miami Beach, Fla.-based Bling Capital.

Odyssey, led by founder Joe Connor, runs a platform that enables families of K-12 students to connect with state agencies and educational vendors that provide funding for school tuition, tutors, software and curriculum. The platform also helps streamline application management and payment processing.

Politically Minded Strategist

Tusk Venture Partners was cofounded by Bradley Tusk, 47, a high-profile strategist who has advised billionaires Elon Musk and Michael Bloomberg (on his mayoral campaign in New York City), and startups such as Uber and Tesla. He is also the founder of political consulting firm Tusk Strategies, which, among other things, seeks to repair America’s “broken” democracy.

Early in his career, he ran a consulting business that accepted equity in exchange for fees. Tusk received his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Tusk Venture Partners’ other co-founder is Jordan Naf, former Blackstone and AllianceBernstein executive. Nof and Tusk serve as managing partners of the firm. A member of the firm’s investment committee, Nof has led its portfolio investments in Lemonade, Bird, Coinbase, Alma, Sunday and Wheel. Jordan received an M.B.A. from Rollins Graduate School of Business and is a graduate of Florida State University, where he received a B.S. in finance.

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The firm has raised $246 million via three funds. In 2017, it opened with a $36 million fund, and followed up with $70 million in 2019, before raising $140 million in 2022. It makes bets of up to $5 million on portfolio companies that often create “new markets altogether, where no regulatory framework likely exists (yet).”

Tusk Venture Partners predominantly invests in healthcare, financial services and technology startups. Its recent investments include dub, The Contract Network, TBD Health, Elaborate and Grilla.