K-12 Dealmaking: ParentPowered Raises $2.65 Million, Jumpstart Acquires Sokikom

Contributing Writer

Companies including a text messaging app and a provider of STEM tools for teachers raised funding. Also, educational games provider Jumpstart acquired online math program Sokikom, and Microsoft and PowerSchool unveiled a new partnership.

ParentPowered Raises $2.65 Million: ParentPowered, the creator of a text messaging application for parents of newborns to third graders, has raised a $2.65 million seed round of financing led by Omidyar Network, with additional investment from Valhalla Charitable Foundation, The Richard E. and Nancy P. Marriot Foundation, and Heising-Simons Foundation.

This round brings the total capital raised by the company to $3.65 million, with early support from Valhalla Charitable Foundation.

ParentPowered’s parent text messaging application, dubbed Ready4K, aims to bring information on child development and bite-sized activity ideas to parents across the U.S.

With the new funding, ParentPowered said it plans to enhance the supports that it provides to parents by investing in its early learning standards-aligned content library as well as its technology platform. The company will also invest in building new institutional partnerships to expand its tech-enabled support model across wider geographies and to parents of younger children, according to the statement.

“We are excited by the potential to leverage mobile technology and principles from behavioral economics to increase parental engagement and kindergarten readiness,” said Isabelle Hau, U.S. education lead at Omidyar Network. “ParentPowered has developed a low-cost, highly scalable, and evidence-based solution to improve early learning that has already shown to increase engagement by parents in their child’s literacy activities.”

Jumpstart Acquires Sokikom: Jumpstart World, a provider of educational products which specialize in creative and educational games for K-12 children, has acquired Sokikom, a provider of an online math program for students in grades K-5 based in San Jose, Calif., according to a LinkedIn post from Sokikom founder Snehal Patel, first reported by EdSurge. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Jumpstart is a subsidiary of NetDragon Websoft Holdings Limited, developer of internet communities with headquarters in China, Hong Kong and the U.S. NetDragon acquired Los Angeles-based Jumpstart last summer.

MeTEOR Education Establishes Investment Partnership With Saw Mill Capital: MeTEOR Education, a Gainsville, Fla.-based provider of learning spaces, including furnishings and interior design services, announced that private equity firm Saw Mill Capital has committed to investing in the company’s future growth opportunities, according to a statement from MeTEOR.

New investment stemming from the alliance will be used to “deepen local relationships within areas where MeTEOR already serves its clients; develop more targeted educational resources that serve as catalysts of change; and extend the organization’s powerful set of student engagement solutions,” MeTEOR said.

“We see MeTEOR Education as a truly unique and attractive partner in transforming the education space, and we value the strong culture, differentiated offerings and solid growth strategy the company’s leadership team has orchestrated,” said Scott Rivard, partner at Saw Mill Capital. “We look forward to enhancing MeTEOR’s capabilities and fueling its growth at a time when students and educators need bold new solutions to drive improved student outcomes more than ever.”

Microsoft Partners With PowerSchool: Microsoft Corp. and PowerSchool, a provider of K-12 education technology solutions, have formed a new partnership to bring together PowerSchool’s technologies with Microsoft’s Office 365 for Education productivity suite, Windows devices, and cloud infrastructure.

The partnership aims to “create classroom efficiencies, enable collaboration, and provide insights that allow teachers to spend more time teaching and less time focused on administrative tasks,” according to a statement.

“Working together, we’ll deliver new solutions that connect PowerSchool’s leading K-12 technology with Microsoft’s cloud productivity and analytics to provide the best teaching and learning solutions for educational institutions to support the students of today in creating the world of tomorrow,” said Eran Megiddo, corporate vice president of education at Microsoft.

Added Hardeep Gulati, PowerSchool CEO: “Microsoft shares our mission to use innovative technologies to deliver transformational educational experiences. By partnering with Microsoft, we can better connect educators, students, and parents, delivering a stronger K-12 experience for all, in a way that is only possible due to our combined expertise.”

DreamBox Learning Partners With Knotion: DreamBox Learning, a Bellevue, Wash.-based provider of an adaptive learning math program for K-8 students, has formed a partnership with Knotion, a Mexico-based provider of integrated learning ecosystems.

As a result, DreamBox’s platform will be implemented in approximately 40 schools in Mexico as part of Knotion’s transdisciplinary curriculum and digital learning ecosystem. Students will use DreamBox for 60 minutes per week in Spanish in grades K-3 to acquire essential math vocabulary in their native language, according to the companies, which noted that once students are confident, they will be able to switch to using the platform in English in grade 4.

“We evaluated dozens of math solutions, but DreamBox rose to the top with its proven adaptive learning engine. Knotion and DreamBox are a great match because we both focus on how students learn and are committed to helping all children excel,” said Noel Trainor, founder and CEO of Knotion.

Fuel Joins Renaissance Growth Partnership: Renaissance, a pre-K-12 learning analytics provider, said Fuel Education has become Renaissance Growth Alliance partner.

“As part of the Renaissance Growth Alliance, the companies are bringing together their complementary solutions to provide teachers with personalized instruction to help increase student engagement and mastery,” according to a statement.

“Our collaboration with FuelEd will help teachers better engage students and evaluate performance, giving them a complete, data-driven picture of student mastery,” said Paula O’Gorman, senior vice president of corporate affairs at Renaissance.

Magpie Education Raises $416,000: Magpie Education, a UK-based firm that provides curriculum tools for teaching STEM subjects, has raised approximately $416,000 in funding from the British Robotics Seed Fund (BRSF), according to an announcement on The PE Hub Network.

Funding will be used to market and develop the tool for UK schools, and expand internationally, in the future, according to the statement.

Magpie Education, which is slated to launch this spring, aims to provide “a platform that incorporates lesson planning, curriculum mapped activities; tailored learning journeys and training (CPD), to deliver inspiring STEM lessons.” In addition, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the tool is designed to help teachers to accurately assess students’ progress to improve learning outcomes, the company explained in the statement.

Also earlier this month:

9 Story Media Group Acquires Out of the Blue Enterprises: Toronto-based 9 Story Media Group has acquired children’s educational media provider Out of the Blue Enterprises, according to a statement. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Out of the Blue, based in New York City, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of 9 Story Media Group.

9 Story and Out of the Blue have previously worked together on the animated series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, which 9 Story produces and distributes internationally with The Fred Rogers Company in association with Out of the Blue. The two companies have also worked together on Creative Galaxy for Amazon Studios, which Out of the Blue produces and 9 Story is the animation partner.

In the Indian ed-tech market:

Founding Years Acquires Intellitots: Founding Years Learning Solutions, an India-based provider of preschools and daycare centers and the parent company of KLAY Schools and The Little Company, has acquired Intellitots Learning for an undisclosed sum, according to press reports.

Intellitots is a Gurgaon, India-based provider of early childhood education for children from 18 months to six years old.

Rubix108 Raises $1 Million: Pune, India-based school management solution provider Rubix108 Technologies has raised $1 million in pre-series A funding in a round led by Polaris Fund, according to press reports, which noted that angel investor Ayush Kankariya also participated in the round.

Be sure to check back on Marketplace K-12 for updates on mergers, acquisitions, fundraising, and other dealmaking. Follow EdWeek Market Brief on Twitter @EdMarketBrief or connect with us on LinkedIn

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