Jackson Boyar

Jackson Boyar

Shearwater Co-founder. Former management consultant. Fluent in Mandarin.
General Business • Financial
Boston, US
  • Curriculum Development
  • Financial Analysis
  • International Business
  • International Education
  • Languages
  • Legal Issues
  • Management Consulting
  • Sales Management
Mentor Collective

Co-Founder @Mentor Collective • Co-Founder

To provide all students with a transformative mentoring experience


Kyle Wong recommended Mentor Collective where Jackson is Co-Founder

I would like to recommend Shearwater - they would be a tremendous addition to the Techstars community.

I am the co-founder and CEO of Pixlee, an Andreessen Horowitz and XSeed Capital portfolio company. I am also an active contributor for Forbes covering entrepreneurship and previously co-founded 3 startups.

Shearwater's market is very large with evident and unaddressed pain points. The company's SaaS business model is validated by multiple signed contracts and $100K+ in committed revenue.

James and Jackson have worked together for several years, dating back to their time in consulting. They have incredible work chemistry and work ethic. I have heard from their clients that they are already regarded as thought leaders in their space.

Shayan Saber recommended Mentor Collective where Jackson is Co-Founder

As an associate for this past Techstars/Kaplan EdTech accelerator, I had the opportunity to work with some amazing companies and have seen first hand the type of passion, dedication, and persistence required of the founders. James and Jackson have those qualities in spades. They are building a business that targets the massive international education market and at the rate that Shearwater is moving, I have no doubt that in a few years international students all around the world will have Shearwater to thank for helping them thrive in a new country.

James and Jackson have the business acumen and the industry knowledge but most importantly, they have the burning desire to help students start life in a foreign country on the right foot so that the students can succeed. Techstars can help turn Shearwater International into a global education brand and you would be hard-pressed to find a better pair of cofounders than James and Jackson.

Lauren Stone recommended Mentor Collective where Jackson is Co-Founder

I would like to enthusiastically recommend Shearwater. I have spent my entire career working with international students, have designed various orientation, re-orientation and cultural immersion programs, and have a deep understanding of the experience a student undergoes in a new culture.

I also sit on the Advisory Board of Shearwater and primarily advise on their BD and sales strategies. Shearwater is positioned to address an exceptionally large market need with a very differentiated product. They have no direct competitors and have validated their solution via more than a few signed contracts, a difficult feat in the education world.

James and Jackson are a rare find - they are incredibly proactive and coachable, two traits I value in entrepreneurs. Their personal experiences in international education have allowed them to effectively connect with international educators and understand the market needs well.

Ben Keeler Co-Founder at Young Men's Nation recommended Mentor Collective where Jackson is Co-Founder

I've been the Chief of Client Relations & Operations at EduMetrics since 2011 and have had the pleasure of knowing Jackson and James since Sept. 2014. I was quickly drawn to their calm and generous demeanors and nuanced, creative thinking about how to make Shearwater a success. They are also a phenomenal duo, challenging one another with good humor and constructive criticism whenever necessary. They're truly like siblings, in the best sense of the term. Having spent eight years teaching in private schools in the U.S. and abroad, I believe I bring a competent perspective on what it takes for international students to feel welcomed and able to maximize their potential. The Shearwater model, which folds costs into tuition payments and leverages online video conferencing, makes it hard for schools to say no because there's so little they have to worry about. This is key to getting buy-in from often over-stretched educators. It will also make it seamlessly scalable. Very impressive!

Christopher Ballesteros recommended Mentor Collective where Jackson is Co-Founder

Shearwater International is a dynamic, innovative, and high potential startup with an extremely driven duo of founders and a unique solution to a major gap in the educational market.

From the perspective of a former management consultant and a current venture capitalist, the combination of favorable macro trends, an almost entirely greenfield market opportunity, a high margin, high retention business model, and a talented team indicates that Shearwater is well-positioned for continued growth and success.

From the perspective of one of the original mentors with Shearwater, I have seen firsthand the significant and measurable impact that the business has on international students, as well as the clear value proposition that suggests both low customer churn and high future growth.

From both a personal and professional perspective, I know that James' and Jackson's extreme work ethic, magnetic personalities, vision, and business savvy all but ensure that Shearwater will thrive.

Charles Ha recommended Mentor Collective where Jackson is Co-Founder

Shearwater International (SI) is one the most exciting and unique edtech startups I have encountered and will make a prime addition to the Techstars community. As a venture capitalist and having spent years at various startups, I have had the pleasure of getting to know hundreds of CEOs and their companies, however I never came across a company like SI. When James first pitched SI's mission, model, and market opportunity, I was completely taken aback by its simplicity, compelling solution for both international families and host schools, and how perfect both James/Jackson were for the venture. SI is an innovative new approach to acclimating exchange students and their families to new cultures and environments as well as for host schools to drastically improve the process for which they welcome and have their new students adjust to their new ecosystems. SI has already shown incredibly strong traction with many schools and promises to disrupt the orientation model across the US.

Erica Swallow Advisor at weCliq recommended Mentor Collective where Jackson is Co-Founder

Having been a TechStars associate in New York and having worked as an employee with a TechStars company (Contently), I can whole-heartedly say that Jackson and James are exactly the types of entrepreneurs who flourish within the TechStars eco-system. Not only have they identified a largely unaddressed problem within an engaged and underserved market, but they also have tread unapologetically towards solving it in, in the face of numerous obstacles. Jackson and James, too, are more than just effective entrepreneurs, they are deeply connected founders who bolster one another through every step of the founding process. I've seen them grow over the past two years as they've worked towards growing Shearwater. They bring unparalleled drive and creativity to their venture, and they've proven that they can execute by signing top schools as clients and booking big dollars in committed spends. Shearwater is set to accelerate, and I believe TechStars is the perfect next step for this team.

Danny Wong recommended Mentor Collective where Jackson is Co-Founder

One of the critical skills all successful entrepreneurs must have is empathy towards its users' needs. The founders have firsthand experience overcoming social and cultural obstacles having lived and studied abroad. They both thrived thanks to support from their peer and professional networks -- but they were lucky. Knowing not all students have access to the same support networks, Shearwater developed a premier solution to help international students studying in the U.S. succeed.

Beverly Boyer recommended Mentor Collective where Jackson is Co-Founder

I am the International Student Coordinator and Director of ESL at High Mowing School. We have been working with Shearwater since 2013.
My school’s experience with Shearwater so far has been very positive. The summer orientation program for the incoming international students was right on target. It had a very relevant curriculum, and undoubtedly helped the students feel more confident and prepared when they stepped onto our campus in September. And the ongoing support from the mentors seems to be very helpful as well. Further, I have found the two co-founders of the organization to be extremely pleasant to work with. They are highly professional and reliable, and they work from a place of integrity. I am grateful for our relationship with Shearwater, and would definitely recommend it to other schools.

Julia K Bannister recommended Mentor Collective where Jackson is Co-Founder

Currently in my second year partnering with Shearwater Intl, I can truly say it has been nothing but a pleasure. Jackson and James are involved, attentive, and intuitive when it comes to the needs of our students and families. They are easy to work with, professional, and engaged - and I have consistently been impressed with their transparency and flexibility throughout the process.

The Shearwater model has the ability to change the way schools conduct orientation for international students. The orientation program provides a unique insight into our incoming students, offering valuable information to future advisors, teachers, and houseparents. It eases the transition to a new school and education model, helping international students build bonds that serve them throughout their time in the US and beyond. Furthermore, the program helps engage international alumni in a meaningful way, which has traditionally been a challenge for development offices at private schools.

Remen Okoruwa recommended Mentor Collective where Jackson is Co-Founder

Shearwater is one of the most exciting Edtech startups that I've seen in a while. It hits all the marks that I look for in my role as an investment associate at a VC firm: a passionate team with relevant prior experience in education & international collaboration, an interesting and underserved market segment, as well as the clever use of technology to generate real value for the customers. Additionally, James and Jackson are two of the most dynamic and charismatic teams that I've had the pleasure of knowing. They've thrown themselves into this project and in a short span turned an idea on paper into a nationwide program. With all the success they've already achieved, this accelerator program looks to be a catalyst to help them elevate the company to the next level. And I have no doubt they are ready to take that next step forward.

Kevin Liang recommended Mentor Collective where Jackson is Co-Founder

I have closely monitored the growth of Shearwater and have been extremely impressed with the dedication and resourcefulness of James and Jackson, as well as the unbelievable progress they have made since launch. As an associate at a VC firm, the character and cohesiveness of the management team are must-haves when I evaluate an opportunity. James and Jackson are precisely the duo I would back in this enterprise and this market. They have the soft skills and the deep industry knowledge to connect with students, parents, and administrators. They genuinely believe in their mission and have the humility and adaptability to learn and grow along with the business. They have been sponges and I'm extremely excited to continue watching them conquer new challenges in the upcoming months.

Jiang (John) Lin Co-Founder at TownHall recommended Mentor Collective where Jackson is Co-Founder

I would like to put in a strong recommendation for Shearwater international. My name is John and I have worked both in startups and in the venture capital field. I believe that Shearwater International has a real chance to disrupt what is becoming an increasingly popular market.

The appeal of this company really lies within 2 factors. 1) they are providing a service that has never been provided before 2) they are gaining a relatively large profit from someone who is not price sensitive. Therefore, they only need to sign up a few businesses to become profitable and have been earning money from day one. I believe that given the amount they earn from each student, it is both a goal that is possible to achieve, but also a very large market.

James and Jackson have been amazing in the progress that they have got thus far and I hope that you will consider them for this application.

Thank you

Penney Riegelman recommended Mentor Collective where Jackson is Co-Founder

While many Chinese students attend high school in the US, many struggle for the first year because of cultural differences not addressed in their US schools. Shearwater presents an original and forward thinking approach to this issue while also strengthening the schools with which it works by developing networks of international alumni and, by having them work as mentors, creating a new group of advocates for the schools. Their considered use of technology to create these relationships makes their work quite cost effective and helps the Chinese students and their families become active and well informed members of our school communities before they even arrive at their schools.