Facebook Founder Supports Educational Survey Startup

Managing Editor

By guest blogger Ben Kamisar

Panorama Education, a startup that provides surveys and analytics based on feedback from parents, students, and teachers,  announced Monday that it raised $4 million in seed funding through an initiative sponsored in part by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

“It’s a really humbling experience because we realize we have this great opportunity,” said Aaron Feuer, the 22-year-old CEO of Panorama Education.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based education company creates and analyzes surveys for K-12 schools, using information from the community in and around the school to help solve targeted problems.

The company’s beginnings trace back to Feuer’s role as a member of the California state student council, where he worked to get a bill passed through the state legislature to have students provide feedback for all of their classes. The bill was approved by legislators, but because of the budget crisis, it could not compel any school to act.

“This massive campaign, and this energy we had had come to nothing because this didn’t get off the ground,” Feuer recalled. “Having a big bill in Sacramento is not the way to make a difference in California public schools.”

The idea reemerged during Feuer’s junior year at Yale University in New Haven, Conn, and Panorama Education was born. Now, just a few months after his graduation, the company has grown to serve about 4,000 schools around the country, including some within the Los Angeles Unified school system. It also works with the Connecticut State Department of Education and Teach For America.

In one case, a school system came to Panorama for help solving a bullying problem. A survey uncovered that the problem only existed for 9th grade boys, who felt that teachers were not doing enough to stop it. That data was used to help the school stamp out the issue.

With the significant influx of cash, the company plans to launch a free tool for individual teachers and expand by hiring more engineers and ramping up outreach. The money comes from groups including Zuckerberg’s Startup:Education, uber-investor Jeff Clavier’s SoftTech VC, and actor Ashton Kutcher’s A-Grade Investments.

“He has been a tremendously important business advisor,” Feuer said about Zuckerberg. The two met at Y Combinator, a popular startup funding event that gave rise to companies like Reddit and Dropbox

14 thoughts on “Facebook Founder Supports Educational Survey Startup

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  6. There needs to be more corporate support for initiatives like these. I think people are finally starting to realize that social climate and feeling safe are important issues; whether it be in a school district, a graduate program, or a business. I’m glad to seem some social responsibility developing around these issues. It also sounds like these researchers took some of their cues from 360 feedback assessments because they took feedback from the teachers, community, parents, and students. SurveyConnect, Inc, as a 360 software company, can learn a lot from projects like these that apply the principles of a 360 assessment to a new context outside of business. I look forward to more information about this subject. Soon SurveyConnect may join in this evolution.

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