K-12 Dealmaking: Knewton Raises $52M; Imagine K12 Merges with Y Combinator

Edmentum forges a new partnership with WebbAlign

Contributing Writer

Venture capital deals in the ed-tech market dominated the news over the past week, with companies such as Knewton, SchoolMint, and NuuEd announcing the completion of funding rounds as well as ed-tech accelerator Imagine K12 merging with the Y Combinator fund.

In addition, the sector saw several new partnerships spring up, such as Edmentum’s new partnership with WebbAlign.

Here’s a recap of last week’s news:

Knewton Closes $52 Million Financing Round: Knewton, a global provider of adaptive-learning products, recently closed its latest financing round, raising more than $52 million in capital that the company said it will use to accelerate the roll-out of personalized learning solutions for students in partnership with leading publishers and education companies.

The round, led by Belgium-based Sofina and London-based Atomico, marks Knewton’s largest fundraising round to date, the company said. EDBI, the dedicated corporate-investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board, and TAL Education Group, a China-based K-12 education company, joined Sofina, Atomico, and returning investors Accel Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital, and Founders Fund in the funding round.

The financing will be used to expand Knewton’s domestic and international infrastructure, which includes technology, sales, implementation, and support teams—particularly in Asia where Knewton said the business is rapidly expanding in China, Japan, India, and Singapore.

Imagine K12 Merges With Y Combinator: The Redwood City, Calif.-based ed-tech accelerator has merged with investment fund Y Combinator to form an ed-tech vertical within YC, according to Y Combinator’s blog.

YC/Imagine K12 will launch its first combined batch of startups this summer; new companies will have access to YC’s startup network and resources coupled with Imagine K12’s Educator Network and specialized understanding of the education market, according to the blog.

Founded in 2011, Imagine K12 has funded over 80 companies, including Remind, Class Dojo and Panorama Education.

SchoolMint Secures $8 Million: San Francisco-based SchoolMint, a provider of mobile and online enrollment and school choice systems for Pre-K-12 public, charter and private schools, said their recent Series A round brings total funding to close to $8 million.

The $5.6 million round was led by Runa Capital, with participation from Reach Capital, Fresco Capital, Govtech Fund, Kapor Capital, Crosslink Capital, Maiden Lane Ventures and CSC Upshot as well as individual investors from human resources solutions company Gusto. The capitalization will support SchoolMint’s growth as it moves into an increasing number of districts and schools throughout the country, the company said in a statement.

Founded in 2013, SchoolMint is now used by more than 2,000 schools in 70 cities in 30 states and four countries and serves more than 1.5 million PreK-12 students.

New Profit Invests in LEAP Innovations: National nonprofit venture philanthropy fund New Profit is investing $1 million over the next four years into LEAP Innovations, a Chicago-based nonprofit dedicated to transforming education by bridging the gap between education and innovation. LEAP Innovations says it attempts to help educators develop and implement personalized learning environments enabled by technology to tailor instruction to each student’s skills, interests, and goals.

The investment in LEAP will be a part of the New Profit Innovation Fund (NPIF), New Profit’s core investment vehicle, which serves as a learning lab for identifying and catalyzing the best social impact organizations in America. The funding from NPIF will be unrestricted and supplemented by strategic advisory support from New Profit staff in collaboration with Deloitte Consulting.

NuuEd Receives $3 Million from Swiss Firm: Oakland, Calif.-based NuuED Inc., a technology education company that attempts to help learners based on their different learning styles, has secured a $3 million financing deal with Swiss-based DuKlaw Ventures.  DuKlaw Ventures led the investment effort with participation from German-based Deutsche Gruppe.

The financing will support the delivery of the NuuED Spiral™ App to over 500,000 pre-subscriber customers. The app is meant to provide educational materials, information, tools, games, and resources customized to individual learning needs.

Edmentum Partners with WebbAlign: Edmentum, a provider of online learning solutions, has partnered with WebbAlign, a company focused on the alignment of K–12 standards and assessments.

Edmentum is currently one of the premier participants in WebbAlign’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) Partner Program, according to a statement. The program helps partners implement the DOK framework, which seeks to provide verifiable alignment between standards, curriculum, and assessments. “As K–12 standards continue to evolve, our partnership with WebbAlign will help us make sure that we maintain alignment across our instruction and assessment solutions,” said Edmentum chief academic officer Dave Adams, in a statement.

Follett, Cengage Partner to Offer Career Resources: Follett, a provider of educational materials and technology solutions to Pre-K-12 libraries, classrooms, learning centers and school districts, is partnering with Cengage Learning in an effort to offer more than 1,700 of Cengage Learning’s career-and-technical education titles, focusing on business education, computing and STEM, according to a statement.

Boston-based Cengage is provider of educational materials and technology solutions to PreK-12 libraries, classrooms, learning centers and school districts.

Around the world:

NextEducation Buys InOpen’s Computer Masti: Hyderabad, India-based Next Education has acquired InOpen’s Computer Masti as part of an all-cash deal, according to NextEducation’s blog. Computer Masti, a core computer science curriculum, was created jointly by IIT Bombay and ed-tech startup InOpen and is presently being used by 600,000 students across India.

VTech to Acquire LeapFrog Enterprises: Hong Kong-based VTech Holdings Ltd., a provider of electronic learning products and cordless telephones, has agreed to acquire Emeryville, Calif.-based LeapFrog Enterprises, a developer of educational entertainment for children. VTech plans to acquire 100 percent of the outstanding common stock of LeapFrog through an all cash tender offer followed by a second-step merger, according to a statement.

Update: This post has been updated with new information on the arrangement between Learning Forward and Amplify.

EdWeek Market Brief Senior Editor Sean Cavanagh contributed to this report.

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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