K-12 Dealmaking: IXL Acquires Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com; EdLight Raises $4M Round

Staff Writer

IXL Learning has scooped up Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com, continuing its string of acquisitions of consumer-focused educational websites and software programs

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition follows IXL’s purchase of other language-centric companies Vocabulary.com, SpanishDictionary.com, and Rosetta Stone in recent years and adds to its growing slate of software products used in K-12 school districts, including IXL, ABCya, and TeachersPayTeachers, which it bought in March 2023.

“In a world brimming with countless words, Dictionary.com is a trusted guide that helps people navigate the English language and express themselves,” IXL CEO Paul Mishkin said in a statement. “We are excited to collaborate and take significant strides together toward making education more engaging and accessible.”

Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com are used by more than 40 million people a year and processes more than 1.8 billion word searches annually, the companies said in announcing the deal.

Both Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com were previously owned by Rock Holdings, the Detroit-based private equity firm that owns Quicken Loans and Rocket Companies.

In a statement, Dictionary.com CEO Dara Sanderson said the the combination of IXL and Dictionary.com’s strengths “will continue elevating Dictionary.com’s platform, making it an even more essential resource for learners seeking to expand their vocabulary and deepen their understanding of words.”

Startup raises $4 million seed round. EdLight, a New Jersey-based ed-tech startup that uses artificial intelligence tools to analyze and review students’ handwritten work, raised $4 million in a seed round to fuel its go-to-market strategy. 

The five-year-old startup said the round included support from the Southern Education Foundation, Charter School Growth Fund, and Backstage Capital, a venture firm focused on funding underrepresented founders. Previous funding for the company has included grants from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Cambiar Education, and the Google for Black Founders Fund.

EdLight’s software is designed to assess students’ written work and use machine learning and other AI technologies to identify trends in strategies and misconceptions, and to make it easier for teachers to provide nuanced feedback tailored to fit students’ individual needs.

“This funding round marks a significant step forward for EdLight and validates our commitment to revolutionizing education through AI-driven insights,” CEO Teryn Thomas said in a statement.

The infusion of capital will be directed toward the company’s go-to market efforts, it said, as well as boosting its market reach. In announcing the deal, EdLight highlighted its status as a women-led, person-of-color-led and educator-led organization.

“A milestone moment for EdLight, this funding round showcases the power of innovation led by underrepresented voices in education.” Arlan Hamilton, partner at Backstage, said in a statement. The organization is enthused, he said, about supporting EdLight’s mission through “AI-powered solutions.”

Follow EdWeek Market Brief on Twitter @EdMarketBrief or connect with us on LinkedIn.

Image by Getty.

See more: