K-12 Dealmaking: Newsela Raises $50 Million; Securly Acquires TechPilot Labs

Contributing Writer

In recent dealmaking news, instructional content platform Newsela has secured $50 million; student safety company Securly has acquired TechPilot Labs; ACT has acquired the American College Application Campaign; education finance technology company Allovue has raised $4 million, and College Ave Student Loans has secured $65 million to expand its student lending business.

Newsela Secures $50 Million in Series C Funding from TCV

Instructional content platform Newsela has obtained a $50 million Series C investment from growth equity firm TCV to expand its reach in schools across the country.

Newsela curates engaging, leveled content from sources such as National Geographic, NASA, Biography.com, Encyclopedia Britannica and the Washington Post. The material comes with interactive tools and analytics, including formative assessments.

New York City-based Newsela says it is already being used in 90 percent of U.S. schools. The new funding will help ensure that more schools have access to their content for literacy and to meet curriculum standards. The investment will help with the expansion of Newsela’s new Custom Collections offering, which allows districts to customize materials to match their curriculum.

Woody Marshall, general partner at TCV, which has backed content platforms like Netflix and Spotify in the past, said in a statement that the firm aims to fund transformative ed-tech companies and Newsela has proven to be successful with learning outcomes and popular with its users.

Matthew Gross, CEO of Newsela, said the company works to provide safe, trusted, accessible and engaging content and assessments, while giving teachers the freedom to personalize it for their students’ interests and needs.

“With this investment from TCV, we will scale efforts to help districts turn their technology infrastructure into quantifiable results that improve learning outcomes,” Gross said in the statement.

As part of the transaction, Marshall will join Newsela’s board of directors.

Student Safety Company Securly Acquires TechPilot Labs

Securly, a student internet safety company, has announced the acquisition of TechPilot Labs, a provider of K-12 education technology.

TechPilot Labs, a private company based near Atlanta, Ga., was founded in 2012 by Jarrett Volzer and now says it serves hundreds of school districts across four continents with mobile device management and classroom technology management products.

Securly, founded in 2013, has developed solutions designed to keep kids safe and engaged online, such as tools to help adults create a kid-friendlier internet to artificial intelligence that recognizes signs of bullying and risks of self-harm.

“I founded Securly with the mission to transform the learning experience and keep kids safe in school,” said Vinay Mahadik, CEO and co-founder of Securly, in a statement. “With the addition of the successful device and classroom management solutions from TechPilot Labs, we are that much closer to delivering on that vision.”

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ACT Acquires American College Application Campaign (ACAC)

ACT, the nonprofit learning, measurement and navigation organization behind the ACT test, has acquired the American College Application Campaign from the American Council on Education.

ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning, which focuses on closing gaps in equity, opportunity and achievement for underserved populations and working learners, has supported and empowered the campaign for several years, and now the center will manage the program.

“ACAC is a perfect fit for ACT and our mission. We are committed to increasing college access among underserved students, particularly with the work of our Center for Equity in Learning, and becoming the home of the ACAC initiative will help us expand and accelerate our efforts,” said ACT CEO Marten Roorda, in a statement.

Terms of the deal were not released.

Allovue Raises $4 Million to Help Schools Budget Better

Allovue, an education finance technology company, has raised a $4 million Series A-2 round led by Macquarie Capital, to support the Baltimore-based startup’s continued growth.

Allovue’s flagship product, Balance, is an online software platform designed to help K-12 administrators access, understand, and control their financial data.

By using education finance tools and with support from subject matter experts, Allovue says it has helped districts strategically reallocate millions of dollars by uncovering unspent grants and accounting errors. The company has also worked with districts to redistribute hundreds of millions of dollars to the school-level to increase principal autonomy and improve resource equity. Allovue’s latest products help districts with budget strategies such as zero-based budgeting, weighted-student funding, and priority-based budgeting.

“Districts are increasingly taking a more strategic approach to align budgets to strategic priorities for students,” said founder and CEO Jess Gartner, in a statement. “Our tools are highly configurable for a variety of budgeting approaches with the added benefits of real-time collaboration and data quality control, so districts are producing more strategic budgets in less time with fewer errors.”

The latest round of funding will be used to increase Allovue’s capacity to meet a surge in demand for modern financial tools in response to new fiscal reporting requirements in the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Founded in 2013, Allovue has 25 employees and has raised a total of $13 million in funding.

College Ave Student Loans Secures $65 Million in Credit Facility

College Ave Student Loans, a leading finance technology lender in the student loan industry, announced that it has secured a $65 million credit facility from Guggenheim Investments, the global asset management and investment advisory business of Guggenheim Partners.

The move provides College Ave with increased capacity to expand its private student lending business.

“The credit facility from Guggenheim Investments enables us to accelerate our growth in private student loan lending and financing,” said Joe DePaulo, CEO and co-founder of College Ave Student Loans.

College Ave says it offers competitive rates, a wide range of repayment options, and a customer-friendly experience from application through repayment for undergraduate, graduate, and parent loans, as well as student loan refinancing

To date, College Ave has more than $2 billion in committed loan purchasing power.

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