K-12 Dealmaking: ClassEDU Launches Class for Zoom; Study-Abroad Company Gets ETS Investment

Staff Writer

The drive toward a more comprehensive virtual learning landscape continues, and the Indian ed-tech market keeps booming.

In this edition of K-12 Dealmaking, a Washington, D.C.-based startup launched an interface that incorporates specific learning functionalities into Zoom. India’s ed-tech industry raised $1 billion during the first six months of the country’s financial year, and a Canadian study-abroad company announced a partnership with ETS’s newly formed investment arm.

Another Canadian company that provides a learning management platform raised $5.3 million.

ClassEDU receives $16 million in seed funding, launches Class for Zoom. The Washington, D.C.-based startup‘s Class for Zoom interface includes tools to take attendance, distribute assignments, give quizzes, grade items, and talk one-on-one with students, overlaid on the Zoom platform as its base, according to a press release.

“Due to COVID, millions of students are learning online, and education is changed forever,” Michael Chasen, ClassEDU co-founder and CEO and former Blackboard co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “As the father of three school-age kids, I have a front-row seat to how challenging remote learning is. That’s why we designed Class for Zoom to feel and work like an in-person classroom, and to bring back the happiness of school to teachers and students.”

Investors included early prominent Zoom investors Santi Subotovsky from Emergence Capital, Jim Scheinman of Maven Partners, and venture capitalist Bill Tai. Other investors included Deborah Quazzo, partner at GSV Ventures, a leading education investment fund; Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund; Fred Schaufeld, co-founder and managing director of SWaN and Legend Venture Partners; and, DreamBox Learning CEO Jessie Wolley-Wilson.

India’s ed-tech industry rakes in $1 billion during first six months of its financial year, which runs April-March.  Byju’s, the world’s highest-valued education company, led the group, raising $500 million on Sept. 8 in a private equity funding round led by New York-based Silver Lake, according to a report by Zenger News.

Other Indian companies receiving major investments recently include Unacademy, raising $150 million Sept. 2 in a round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2,  which brought Unacademy’s value to $1.45 billion; as well as Vedantu and InterviewBit, according to the report

InterviewBit, which serves tech enthusiasts pursuing higher education, working professionals, future chief technology officers, and entrepreneurs, raised $20 million this year in a round led by Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global Management.

The most recent Vedantu investment announced on the company’s website is a $100 million Series D round led by U.S.-based Coatue, which took place around July 16.

Canada-based study abroad company receives $55 million, announces partnership with ETS. ApplyBoard, based in Ontario, announced the Series C extension funding round, with participation from Educational Testing Service, Index Ventures, Blue Cloud Ventures, and Harmonic Growth Partners.

ApplyBoard raised $72 million in Series C funding in March.

“The equity investment in ApplyBoard reflects ETS’s strategy to embrace new technologies and strategic partnerships that help broaden the global reach in education—both in terms of student countries of origin as well as their destinations for studying,” ETS Strategic Capital Managing Director Ralph Taylor-Smith said in a statement. “In partnering together with ApplyBoard, we look forward to leveraging ETS’s expertise in assessments to help them further scale their business, bolster their offering, and best serve international students and academic institutions in higher education.”

ETS announced on Sept. 16 the launch of ETS Strategic Capital, an arm dedicated to strategic investments, growth partnerships, and mergers and acquisitions.

The two companies will work together to provide prospective international students with an end-to-end application experience, including preparing and taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and GRE graduate school entry exam, as well as studying at one of ApplyBoard’s 1,200-plus partner schools in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

ApplyBoard simplifies the study abroad search, application, and acceptance process, connecting international students, academic institutions, and recruitment partners on a single online platform.

Edsby raises $5.3 million. The Canadian company, which hosts a unified K-12 digital learning and data platform, announced the Series A round earlier this month.

Ed-tech executive Chris Besse led the round. Besse is the managing director, K-12, for Nelson Education, and is the former CEO of FreshGrade and EdgeMakers. Through the investment, Besse joined Edsby as a member of the board and chief commercial officer.

All seed investors participated in the round, including MindAngler Capital and XDL Capital Group.

Edsby says it has millions of users worldwide, including school districts, students, and parents. The company combines learning management system features with advanced assessment, reporting, and parent communication, tailored to the specific needs of districts, regions, and countries.

“The more I looked at Edsby, the more I realized the company’s vast market potential,” Besse said in a statement. “The Edsby platform’s unique and comprehensive breadth of features provides K-12 education with the best cloud-based, enterprise solution for managing learning.”