In this week’s dealmaking news, digital learning company EVERFI raised $190 million from a group of high-profile investors including Bono; in addition, education game company Legends of Learning and early-childhood app provider Marco Polo Learning received investments.
The Rise Fund and TPG Growth invested $150 million, with Main Street Advisors and Advance Publications also joining the round. They join existing investors Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon; Eric Schmidt, chairman of Alphabet; Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter, and Allen and Company.
EVERFI is the first investment by The Rise Fund, which is managed by TPG Growth; U2 lead singer and activist Bono is a special partner with TPG Growth.
Washington, D.C.-based EVERFI’s courses include interventions to address topics including financial education, sexual assault and harassment prevention, alcohol responsibility and social and emotional learning. The courses also cover science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and career readiness.
Also last week, The Rise Fund announced the first hires to its education sector team. John Rogers, a founding partner of Bridges Ventures’ U.S. Sustainable Growth Fund, will serve as sector lead. Arne Duncan, the former U.S. Secretary of Education and former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, and Rick Levin, CEO of Coursera, were appointed senior advisers.
Rogers will be fully integrated with the TPG deal teams while Duncan and Levin will advise The Rise Fund on investment opportunities, sector trends, and the impact of Rise investments across the education space, according to a statement.
Regarding the EVERFI investment, Duncan added in a statement, “Through its innovative digital platform, diverse content, and network of private-sector partnerships, EVERFI is benefiting students, teachers, and school staff, making it a natural fit for The Rise Fund.”
Legends of Learning Raises $9 Million: Education game company Legends of Learning closed its seed round of fundraising with a total of $9 million raised, according to a statement from the Washington, D.C.- and Baltimore-based company. Although the company did not disclose who made investments in its statement; The Baltimore Sun reported that the Baltimore Angels, a group of locally based investors, was joined in the transaction with other unnamed institutional and private investors.
Legends of Learning launched at the end of March with a first-to-market approach of 900 curriculum-based education games for middle school curricula in earth and space science, life sciences and physical science.
The company said it “will leverage the funds to execute its long-term strategic plan in the education sector. The investments will allow the company to meet demand by hiring additional team members and expanding its platform to new school grades and subjects.”
The company was founded by Vadim Polikov, a research scientist who launched Astrum Solar, a U.S. solar installer, and American Journal Experts, an academic editing company.
“The successful closing of this seed round will let us accelerate our focus on helping more teachers reach students with research-driven, curriculum-based education games,” said Polikov.
MarcoPolo Learning Raises $8.5 Million: MarcoPolo Learning, a mobile-based early childhood education company, has raised $8.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Boat Rocker Ventures, a division of Boat Rocker Media, a global media company and studio behind Orphan Black, The Next Step, and Stella and Sam, according to a statement published on The PE Hub Network.
The proceeds will be used for expanding the company’s suite of early childhood education apps as well as producing premium, animated long-form video content in partnership with Boat Rocker Media and its family of companies, according to the New York-based company.
Other investors in MarcoPolo’s financing round include technology investors such as Horizons Ventures, Seedcamp, and managing partners of DST Global, along with individuals from the kids and media industries such as founders/senior executives from Diapers.com (acquired by Amazon), Maker Studios (acquired by Disney), NewsCorp, and YY.
In addition to Boat Rocker’s investment, both companies formed an exclusive strategic production and distribution partnership “that will see deep collaboration on original animated television and digital series, leveraging Boat Rocker’s global video distribution expertise and team of over 400 in-house animators and producers,” according to Marco Polo.
CollegeVine Raises $3.6 Million: CollegeVine, an online guidance platform for high school students that provides mentorship, academic tutoring and college admissions guidance, has closed an additional $3.6 million Series A funding round led by Morningside Technology Ventures with participation by University Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank.
An extension of the $3.1 million round closed by the ed-tech startup in Q4 2016, the new funding will be used to expand CollegeVine’s digital infrastructure to better serve its growing customer base, the company noted.
LearnLaunch Selects Seventh Ed-tech Cohort: Boston-based LearnLaunch Accelerator unveiled its seventh cohort of nine early-stage education technology companies, LearnLaunch said in a statement.
The companies will take part in LearnLaunch’s Boost program for early stage ed-tech startups and service markets including: K-12, higher education, early education, and continuing education markets. Each startup can receive up to $70,000 in funding “to continue to expand their footprint and impact in the broader learning environment,” LearnLaunch said.
The participating startups are: BlocksCAD, Choosito!, Creatr., Entri, LearnBolt, Schola, SchoolHack, The Wealth Factory, and Unruly Studios.
panOPen, Learnosity Form Partnership: Ed-tech companies panOpen and Learnosity have partnered to integrate Learnosity’s assessment and homework capabilities into panOpen’s Open Educational Resources-based learning platform, according to a statement.
The partnership “creates a resource that preserves the low cost and flexibility of open content while offering advanced digital tools that have previously been reserved for commercially copyrighted content,” the companies said.
“We’re seeing a profound change in the marketplace for educational materials with new models for content production and delivery being created,” said Gavin Cooney, CEO of Learnosity. “OER is emerging as an important option for educators, and Learnosity is proud to partner with panOpen to deliver on the promise of open content.”
Be sure to check back on Marketplace K-12 for updates on mergers, acquisitions, fundraising, and other dealmaking.