Gaming Developer Acquires Imbellus, Company That Has Vowed to Shake Up Assessment

Staff Writer

A gaming provider that is on the verge of going public has acquired the intellectual property assets of Imbellus, an assessment developer that over the past few years has drawn a burst of media attention and venture capital.

Roblox is acquiring those assets from Imbellus, which focuses on creating game- and simulation-based assessments, Imbellus announced.

Imbellus founder and CEO Rebecca Kantar and President and Chief Scientist Jack Buckley are joining Roblox as well.

“We are creating a new team within Roblox, led by Imbellus’ visionary founder Rebecca Kantar to build a system on Roblox for fair and objective assessments that will help us broaden our sources of potential talent from more diverse backgrounds,” Roblox said in a statement.

Imbellus had raised $24 million in venture capital funding by June 2019, as noted in an EdWeek Market Brief Q&A with Kantar, in which she talked about her company’s vision. The company was also valued at $57.5 million in a 2018 private fundraising round, according to Reuters.

Roblox declined to comment for this article, noting that it is in a quiet period after its fall filing to go public on the New York Stock Exchange.

Imbellus touts itself as a pioneer of simulation-based assessments that evaluate how people think in addition to what they know, and its announcement says the company already combines game-like experiences with “advanced, sophisticated psychometrics” to deliver assessments for the workforce and education.

In her interview with EdWeek Market Brief, Kantar spoke about how the Imbellus platform could be used in the future by colleges for admissions purposes in lieu of the SAT and/or ACT. She also said the platform could eventually prod schools to focus on deeper, more customized, and relevant curricula.

She said that she “absolutely” believes Imbellus can reshape the college admissions game.

“Before we run, we have to walk, and our focus to date has been on working with major corporations to understand first and foremost, what skills people use, day in and day out, and defining those skills in a really practical way,” Kantar said.

She continued, “Our focus has been on generating data that allows us to demonstrate our test’s validity, our reliability, predictive validity, content validity, all of the pillars that would be required as table stakes before we could work in an educational context.”

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