Ronald Packard, CEO and founder of K12, explains his belief that investing in education is an investment in society's future wealth and how that inspired the creation of K12.
Matt Argersinger: Well, I'm joined by Ronald Packard today from K12. Thanks for spending some time with The Motley Fool.
Ronald Packard: It's a pleasure to be here.
Matt: Let's go back real quick. It's mid- to late-'90s. Up until that point, your experience is mostly consulting [in] investment banking. I want to know about the lightbulb that went off. Was it always a passion for education or was it kind of you saw the Internet and you saw an opportunity and this seemed like [unclear].
Packard: I think it was always a passion for education. I really believe it's the way to [unclear] create wealth is to have an educated workforce and populations, so I was back in the '90s, father of a six-year-old girl, who I just sat down one day to work on her math with her and didn't think she was getting enough math in a good public school. And I thought, you know, I'll just go online and try to buy a more advanced math course and teach her what the best schools in the world are doing -- being a mathematics/technology kind of guy myself.
And I went online. What I found was lots of supplemental sites but nowhere to say this is first grade math, teach her this. If she passes this test, she's on par with anyone in the world. So I said you know what? Maybe if I built one like that, others may want that. And the light went on. There's no reason with the Internet today that you couldn't have a complete school online. And I wrote a business plan, raised funding, and started the company.