K-12 Dealmaking: Follett Acquires Bookmasters, Baker & Taylor; ClassDojo Raises $21 Million

Contributing Writer

Follett’s acquisition streak continues with two new purchases from the publishing services and materials distribution sectors. In addition, the ed-tech world saw two school technology platforms gain additional funding.

Follett Acquires Baker & Taylor and Bookmasters: The education materials and technology provider bought Baker & Taylor, LLC, a wholesaler and distributor of books, video and music products to public libraries and institutions. The announcement was immediately followed by Follett’s acquisition of Bookmasters, a provider of integrated publisher services and strategic partner of Baker & Taylor.

Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed. In a press statement announcing the Baker & Taylor acquisition, Follett noted that with combined sales of $3.6 billion, the two businesses will be able to “offer librarians, patrons, educators and students unprecedented access to the best curated physical and digital content wherever learning and reading take place in the community.”

Earlier this month, Follett acquired Wobo, Inc. (formerly Woody’s Books, Inc.), a service for independent-managed campus stores to find and purchase books online in volume.

ClassDojo Raises $21 Million: The communication platform for parents, students and teachers has raised $21 million in a Series B round of venture funding, according to TechCrunch. Company cofounders Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don to the publication that the funding round closed in late 2015 and that the company plans use the new capital to “grow their team, and to figure out what kind of content and features can be useful to parents who use the app, not just during the school day, but at home.”

ClassDojo is backed by leading investors, including Imagine K12 / Y Combinator, General Catalyst, GSV, SV Angel, SoftTech VC, Shasta Ventures, Reach Capital, SignalFire, and others.

ClassWallet Raises $1.5 Million in Seed Funding: Miami-based ClassWallet, a platform for school funds disbursement and tracking, has closed a $1.5 million round of seed financing. Total funding raised to date is $4 million. The priced round was led by Idea Bulb Ventures, a U.S.-based investment company working with China’s Innovation Works, the early stage venture capital firm established by the founding president of Google China Dr. Kai-Fu Lee.

Other investors include Techstars Ventures and William Guttman, as well as several education and financial technology angel investors. ClassWallet partners include Amazon, Office Depot, School Specialty, Scholastic and Nearpod.

Student.com Raises Funding from Facebook Investor: The London-based online accommodation marketplace for students studying abroad, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Facebook investor Jim Breyer, according to various news reports. In February, Student.com announced a $60 million investment led by global investment firm VY Capital.

EDmarket Partners with SchoolBondFinder: The Education Market Association (EDmarket) has partnered with SchoolBondFinder to help educational product companies identify K-12 bond-funded improvement projects in the pipeline, according to a press statement. The partnership will allow EDmarket members “to position their companies as a knowledgeable resource for school district administrators at a time in the buying cycle that makes the most sense.”

OliveBoard Raises Funding from India Educational Investment Fund: Bangalore-based edtech startup, Oliveboard, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from India Educational Investment Fund (IEIF), an early-stage impact investment fund established by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, according to various reports.

The entrance exam practice platform was founded by two ex-Inmobi colleagues, Abhishek Patil & Satish Kumar, in August 2012, according to the company website.

Be sure to check back on Marketplace K-12 for updates on mergers, acquisitions, fundraising, and other dealmaking. Also see EdWeek Market Brief, a service that gives companies operating in the market insights on the needs and priorities of school officials.


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