K-12 Dealmaking: Hero K12 Takes In $150 Million; Lingokids Raises $4 Million

Contributing Writer

In recent dealmaking news, several ed-tech startups announced they have drawn investments, including student behavior management app Hero K12, which received $150 million from private equity firm BV Investment Partners.

Also, language services provider Lingokids, Melbourne-based Verso Learning, and K-12 online course provider Outschool received funds.

Hero K12 Receives $150 Million For Expansion: Student behavior management application Hero K12 has received a $150 million investment from BV Investment Partners, a middle-market private equity firm focused on the business services and IT services sectors. Hero announced the fundraising in a blog posting.

Boston-based BV’s partnership with Hero K12 “provides the company with capital to pursue its targeted growth and acquisition strategy,” according to a separate statement from the investment firm.

Justin Harrison, managing director of BV Investment Partners, said, “[Hero K12 has] demonstrated a tremendously healthy and scalable model for success with Hero, and they have clear plans for building an all-encompassing ed-tech business.

Hero K12 “will broaden their service offering,” he added, “focusing on the whole-child, and creating learning environments that allow all children to grow and succeed at school.”

Hero is a schoolwide system to capture and collect data, and then use the data to allow schools to replace traditional discipline policies with initiatives that emphasize and recognize positive behaviors. The Miami Lakes, Florida-based company aims to enable school districts to capture and collect data that enables educators to replace traditional discipline policies with initiatives that emphasize and recognize positive behaviors.

In April, Hero said announced plans to launch a new growth initiative of investments, acquisitions, and integrations of early and mid-stage education technology companies.

Lingokids Raises $4 Million: San Francisco-based Lingokids, a developer of language-learning services for early childhood, has raised $4 million in funding, according to a statement on The PE Hub Network.

The round was led by Holtzbrinck Ventures and JME Venture Capital; Bessemer Ventures Partners also joined the round.

“This new funding allows us to expand the offering, grow into new regions and reach our goal of having 15 million families enjoying our services by 2018,” said Cristobal Viedma, CEO of Lingokids, in a statement.

The investment comes alongside a new collaboration with Oxford University Press, to make available course-specific learning content inside Lingokids, to extend learning beyond the classroom and encourage parent participation, according to Lingokids, noting that with this new collaboration, OUP will start bundling physical books with Lingokids and distribute the package in schools around the world.

Verso Learning Raises $2 Million: Australia-based ed-tech company Verso Learning has raised $2 million from investor Ken Lowe in a Series A funding round, according to a statement from the company.

The funding, which follows an earlier seed round in 2015 and funding from the Australian government, will be used to scale the company’s U.S. operations, the company noted.

Verso initially launched as a teaching app “to promote deeper learning in K-12 classrooms,” the company explained, noting that the tool has since “evolved into a future-ready professional learning and student engagement platform.”

The Melbourne-based company has operations in the U.S. The funds will be used to build U.S. sales capabilities and develop curriculum content following the completion of implementing the product in California, New Jersey, South Carolina and Texas.

Outschool Raises $1.4 Million: Online marketplace Outschool has raised $1.4 million in a seed round led by Collab+Sesame, a fund backed by the Collaborative Fund and Sesame Workshop, according to a statement.

Other investors in the round include investor Caterina Fake, Y Combinator, SV Angel, FundersClub, Spectrum28 and Learn Capital.

Outschool provides parents and their K-12 students with access to a range of classes, ranging from core academics to enrichment and practical skills, guided by teachers via group video chat and messaging.

The San Francisco-based company said it will use the new investment “to grow the online destination, which currently offers more than 1,000 unique classes, with prices ranging from as little as five dollars for a one-time class to hundreds of dollars for a semester-long course.”

“Outschool’s approach aligns with our beliefs by offering classes that enable kids to explore their interests, feed their passion for learning and empower families to choose the lessons that best meet their children’s interests,” said Tanya Haider, executive vice president for strategy, research, and ventures at Sesame Workshop.

Wonderschool Raises $2 million: Wonderschool, a network of boutique early childhood programs, has raised a $2 million seed round of financing led by First Round Capital, and including Cross Culture Ventures, SoftTech VC, Lerer Ventures, FundersClub, and Edelweiss, according to a statement. Funds will be used to build the initial product and team.

Wonderschool partners with educators and child care providers, assisting them with licensing, program setup, marketing, and more. Its software aims to allow program directors to manage their students, parents, and their program from one dashboard.

The network currently has more than 50 programs in its network in California and plans to expand to other states.

Be sure to check back on Marketplace K-12 for updates on mergers, acquisitions, fundraising, and other dealmaking.

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