K-12 Dealmaking: Another Chinese Company Announces IPO; Panorama Ed. Raises $16M

Contributing Writer

In the latest dealmaking news, Panorama Education raised $16 million from investors including the Emerson Collective and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and math and science online solutions provider ExploreLearning acquired IS3D.

In addition, Shanghai-based Four Seasons Education became the latest Chinese education company to announce an IPO.

Also, earlier last week, school provider Curriculum Associates acquired Motion Math, an educational games company.

Panorama Education Raises $16 Million: Panorama Education has raised $16M in Series B funding, led by Emerson Collective, with participation from Spark Capital, Owl Ventures, SoftTechVC, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) DAF.

Panorama Education will use the funding to expand its tools designed to help school districts develop students’ social-emotional skills, promote family engagement with school, and increase college readiness, according to a statement.

School systems including the New York City Department of Education, Dallas Independent School District, San Francisco Unified School District, and Long Beach Unified School District use Panorama’s platform and professional training workshops, the company noted.

Boston-based Panorama raised $12 million in a Series A funding round with participation from Owl Ventures and Spark Capital in 2015.

ExploreLearning Acquires IS3D: ExploreLearning has acquired Athens, Ga.–based startup and online STEM education provider IS3D, LLC, for an undisclosed sum, according to a statement.

IS3D is the developer of developers of Cogent Education’s Interactive Cases—an online tool that put students in the role of a STEM professional tasked with solving a real-world problem and provides contexts for learning difficult scientific concepts through authentic inquiry and problem solving, according to the company.

With initial availability by 2019, ExploreLearning plans to integrate Cogent Education resources into Gizmos, an online simulation library for grades 3–12 math and science.

ExploreLearning also expects to retain the full Cogent development team, including the company’s co-founder and CEO, Tom Robertson, Ph.D., a former Associate Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia.

Four Seasons Education Goes Public: Four Seasons Education, an after-school math education service for elementary school students in Shanghai, held its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange last week. Shares began trading under the ticker symbol “FEDU.”

The company priced 10,100,000 American depositary shares at $10.00 per ADS for a total offering size of $101 million.

Four Seasons Education provides educational programs that are primarily focused on elementary-level math, and have expanded in recent years to also include other subjects, including physics, chemistry, and languages, as well as other grade levels, including kindergarten and middle school programs.

Last month, China-based education company RISE Education Cayman, a provider of English language education programs in China, announced its IPO on The Nasdaq Stock Market. A few weeks earlier, in September, RYB Education, an early childhood education service provider also based in China, held its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.

Yixue Education Raises $41 Million: Shanghai-based K-12 online education company Yixue Education has raised $41 million in an angel round led by SIG China with participation from Nokia Growth Partners, New Oriental Education & Technology and Greenwood Investment, according to China Money Network, which cited local media.

The company aims to use artificial intelligence to provide tailored educational programs for each student, which noted that Yixue has worked with SRI Lab at Stanford University to study and employ adaptive learning in its technology, reports said.

School-Pass Raises Funding: K-12 logistics platform School-Pass has raised a post-seed round from A3 Education to accelerate sales and marketing, according to a statement from the Gaithersburg, Md.-based company; the amount raised was not disclosed.

School-Pass aims to enable K-12 school communities to manage student arrival and dismissal operations, while enhancing student safety and campus security by integrating real-time GPS, radio-frequency identification (RFID) and license plate data into a patented K-12 logistics platform.

The strategic investment will help us scale the business quickly to streamline operations and enhance student safety for K-12,” said Mark Ruiters, founder and CEO of School-Pass, in a statement.

Sean McManus, executive chairman and CEO of A3 Education, added: “We see the power and versatility of the School-Pass solution and its ability to help K-12 schools drive efficiency and enhance student safety, while dramatically increasing parent engagement.  The breadth and depth of the platform is very impressive, and we want to be a part of their journey to bring this unique and exciting technology to K-12.”

Montessorium Raises $1 Million: Montessorium, an educational app creator based in Sioux Falls, S.D., has raised $1 million in a Series A funding round led by Bluestem Investment Fund 2016 LLC, according to The Argus Leader.

The company, which has raised $2 million since 2014, develops educational apps based on the Montessori learning philosophy.

Montessorium CEO CEO Bobby George said the additional $1 million will help the company take its apps to the “next level,” according to press reports.

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




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