K-12 Dealmaking: Discovery Education Acquires Spiral; Tutoring Startup Receives Seven-Figure Seed Round

Staff Writer

The U.S. has seen a recent pickup in investments in the K-12 market.

Discovery Education recently announced the acquisition of the U.K.-based interactive learning platform Spiral. A Richmond, Va.-based remote tutoring startup has raised a $1.1 million seed funding round, and a Seattle startup that helps colleges communicate students’ educational value to employers announced a $7.65 million Series A round.

Brazilian startup Classpert raised a nearly $1 million seed round. And a Mumbai-based ed-tech company looking to build out an artificial intelligence-based platform raised a $46.8 million Series D funding round.

Discovery Education acquires Spiral. Spiral provides a multi-use platform that supports collaborative learning and formative assessment in the classroom and remote environment. Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed.

In a July 21 press release, Discovery said Spiral’s product features complement Discovery Education Experience’s curated high-quality content and assessment and student collaboration tools, giving educators more ways to facilitate instruction and deepen student engagement.

“Discovery Education is focused on providing school systems outstanding digital services that connect students to learning in and out of the classroom,” said Philip Nanney, Discovery Education’s vice president of corporate development and strategy in a statement. “The acquisition of Spiral aligns with our strategy of adding features to our digital services that save educators time and increase student engagement. We look forward to welcoming Spiral to the Discovery Education team.”

“Discovery Education shares our commitment to connecting students to learning no matter where they are, and we look forward to working closely on that mission with our new colleagues,” said Hamish Kennedy, Spiral’s founder and CEO.

The deal follows Discovery’s August 2019 acquisition of Inspyro, a virtual reality and augmented reality content provider, also based in the U.K.

Richmond, Va. startup raises $1.1 million for online tutoring platform. Felton Group LLC, based in Charlottesville, Va., led the funding round for Trilogy Mentors. Previously, Trilogy had raised a total of over $935,000, including a September 2019 pre-seed round led by Rosetta Stone co-founder Michael Silverman and the MacLaurin Group.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Trilogy Mentors founder John Failla told the publication that the startup will use the funding to add members to its 12-person staff and further develop its technology.

Trilogy matches K-12 students with academic tutors and mentors based on a student’s particular needs.

“By April 1, almost 100% of tutoring in the U.S, was done online because of stay-at-home orders,” Failla told the Times-Dispatch. “We were positioned to help them go online by using our platform. The real reason we have been doing so well over the last few months is we have been able to leverage our experience as an online tutoring company.”

Seattle startup announces $7.65 million Series A funding round. AstrumU, which uses machine learning to forecast the value of educational experiences in the labor market, on July 28 announced the funding round, which was led by Kingdom Capital, the KC Rise Fund, and City Light Capital, bringing the company’s total funding to $13.2 million.

Adam Warby, chairman of executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, as well as DocuSign founder Court Lorenzini, participated in the round. Warby is joining AstrumU as chairman of the board of directors.

“Employers know that talent isn’t dictated by where you went to school, and pedigree isn’t a good proxy for potential, but they don’t always know where to find the skills they are looking for, excluding many qualified graduates as a result,” AstrumU founder and CEO Adam Wray said in a statement. “This is about providing employers with trusted insights into who college graduates are in ways that go well beyond the college transcript or a resume. It’s about leveling the playing field by helping students—and colleges—translate their experience into an incredibly dynamic world of work.”

AstrumU’s platform processes verified data from colleges and employers to understand and predict how specific skills, courses, and internships or extracurricular activities translate into career outcomes.

The platform is being used by an initial cohort of U.S. colleges and universities, including the University of Kansas, University of Washington, and American University.

Brazilian ed-tech Classpert closes $965,000. Classpert allows users to find and compare online courses from multiple e-learning platforms.

Because of the investment, Classpert will hire more staff, improve its platform, and offer more content, according to a report in Contxto, a publication for Latin American technology and startup news.

The round was led by Brazilian venture capital firm Iporanga Ventures.

Indian lesson provider raises $47 million. Toppr, which provides pre-recorded lessons in 17 subjects as well as live sessions, has raised $46.8 million in a Series D funding round led by Dubai-based strategic investment firm Foundation Holdings, according to a report by Asia tech startup publication KrASIA.

Funds will be used to develop an AI-based platform, Toppr School Operating System, for educational institutes that would integrate in- and after-school learning, making personalized experiences for each student.

According to the report, 55,000 students have signed up for the new platform, and 13 million students use Toppr’s existing platform.

Prior to this round, Toppr had raised $112 million.

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