K-12 Dealmaking: Chinese K-12 Education Platform Raises $200 Million; DreamBox Learning, NWEA Partner

Contributing Writer

Chinese education companies continued to attract investors this week with a Beijing-based K-12 education platform raising $200 million in a Series E round. Also, Saturday Kids, a coding school for children based in Singapore, raised $1 million, and a handful of companies announced partnerships.

Chinese K-12 Education Platform Raises $200 Million: Beijing-based online education platform 17zuoye.com has raised $200 million in a Series E investment round led by Toutiao, a news and content platform, according to press reports, which noted that other investors also joined the round but were not disclosed.

17zuoye.com provides interactive services and products for parents, students and teachers in K12 education, primarily on mathematics and English language learning, according to reports.

Toutiao, also based in Beijing, is backed by Bytedance, a Chinese operator of content platforms that aim to enable people to connect with, consume, and create content through AI technology.

Saturday Kids Raises $1 Million: Saturday Kids, a Singapore-based coding school for children, has raised $1 million in a seed funding round from Potato Productions, also based in Singapore, according to press reports.

Saturday Kids works with Google to bring coding to 3,000 young Singaporeans from less well-to-do backgrounds, the company notes on its website, adding that it offers “a multi-year, multi-level computer science and computational thinking course [that] aims to get even more Singaporean kids excited about the potential of technology.”

Potato Productions describes itself as an Asia-focused group of enterprises that are “collectively dedicated to technological innovation, dynamic creativity, and the effecting of real and positive change.”

DreamBox Learning, NWEA Form Partnership: DreamBox Learning, a Bellevue, Wash.-based provider of an adaptive learning math program for K-8 students and NWEA, a not-for-profit provider of assessment solutions, have formed a partnership to provide teachers with additional ways to use data, differentiate assignments, and improve student achievement.

Starting in Fall 2018, educators using DreamBox Learning Math to improve student learning and assessment outcomes will also be able to use students’ NWEA MAP Growth results to create differentiated assignments for individual students through the DreamBox AssignFocus capability for K-8, according to a statement.

“Teachers deserve assessments that not only measure their students’ learning, but also deliver timely and specific information that helps inform their instruction to accelerate the learning and academic growth of each student,” said Chris Minnich, CEO of NWEA. “This partnership provides a seamless way for educators to use students’ MAP Growth results to connect with individualized math lessons directly within DreamBox. We’re excited to be working with DreamBox and look forward to more innovative collaborations in the future.”

Pitsco Education Partners With KUBO Robotics: Pitsco Education, a provider of K-12 STEM solutions, has partnered with KUBO Robotics to bring KUBO, a coding robot for kids, to K-2 classrooms across the U.S., according to a statement.

As part of this partnership agreement, Pitsco Education and KUBO Robotics said they are also developing a number of different subjects to incorporate into the flexible coding solution.

The new KUBO solution claims to “remove the common barriers that many primary school teachers face when embedding technology skills into the curriculum” and aims help kids build and program a robot.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Appoints Desravines to Board: Global publisher and content provider Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) has appointed Jean S. Desravines, CEO of the national education nonprofit New Leaders, to HMH’s board of directors. Desravines’ appointment brings the board’s membership to 10 directors, the company said in a statement.

Prior to joining New Leaders, Desravines served in senior positions in the New York City Department of Education, including as senior counselor to Joel Klein, the chancellor of New York City’s public school system under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and he was named to Forbes‘ “Impact 30” list as one of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs.

“Jean has demonstrated a commitment to developing transformational leaders in education—from principals to teachers—in order to provide all students with equal education opportunities and drive academic achievement,” said Jack Lynch, the president and CEO, of Houghton Mifflin. “We look forward to leveraging his experience and passion as HMH continues to focus on delivering integrated solutions to empower educators and improve student outcomes.”

In 2011, Desravines became CEO of New Leaders, a nonprofit organization that develops leaders for high-need schools in more than 20 cities and 15 states.

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