K-12 Dealmaking: Pearson Ventures Makes First Investments; Indian Curriculum-Gaming Company Raises $28 Million

Contributing Writer

In K-12 dealmaking news, global education company Pearson announced the first $4.2 million in investments from its venture capital arm. A Mumbai-based ed-tech startup raises $28 million from angel investors, while a Nashville-based startup that provides parent feedback to schools raises $1 million. And an Estonian startup that provides support tools for students and teachers raises over $1 million as it looks to expand its client base.

Pearson announces the first investments of its venture arm. Pearson on Dec. 16 announced its first investments through Pearson Ventures, which invests in companies that use “innovative business models, future technologies and new educational experiences.” The investments include $2.2 million to Springboard, which provides an online boot camp for high-demand digital skills, with one-on-one industry mentors and job support, and a job guarantee, which ensures students are placed in new positions in six months or refunded their tuition.

Pearson Ventures is also investing $2 million in Knowledge to Practice, which delivers healthcare education solutions to hospitals and health professionals. Knowledge to Practice’s goal is to help transform patient care, drive continuity of care, and bridge the gap between quality and competency.

“We are pleased to invest in Springboard and Knowledge to Practice, both companies shaping the future of education,” Pedro Vasconcellos, Pearson Ventures’ head of investments, said in a statement. “Each company aligns closely with Pearson’s five-year strategy and vision. Springboard brings a sharp focus on employability outcomes and Knowledge to Practice delivers relevant and up-to-date content in an innovative and flexible manner.”

Pearson, in recent years, has sold its K-12 curriculum business to an investment firm. Among its remaining offerings for U.S. K-12 schools are assessments—high stakes and others—AP course materials, and Connections Academy, a K-12 online public school. The company has also announced plans to focus on digital college materials over print materials.

Pearson last month announced its first acquisition in three years, paying $29 million to scoop up data and analytics company Lumerit Education, a company seeking to provide flexible online college courses from different higher education institutions to help students affordably complete college degrees in the consumer and corporate markets.

Parent-to-school feedback startup raises $1 million. Nashville-based Possip, the first black woman-founded Tennessee startup, raised $1 million in seed funding from Launch TN Impact Fund and angel investors, DigSouth reported.

Possip allows parents to share praise and feedback in multiple languages. Schools can use it to collect and analyze feedback trends systematically; and to hear and share positive feedback from parents, teachers, and students.

The company says that more than 50,000 parents and 100 schools across 16 states use Possip, which is short for “positive gossip.”

Users answer weekly prompts in less than 1 minute, the company says on its website. Questions include whether parents are happy with the school this week, and what feedback and praise they have for the school. Schools receive an actionable report that takes less than 5 minutes to review. Possip members receive reports that help highlight trends within their schools, as well as information, learning and insights from across the national Possip community.

Mumbai-based Eduisfun Technologies raises $28 million. Ed-tech startup Eduisfun Technologies raised $28 million from a group of angel investors, including Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan; Deepak Parekh, chairman of Indian bank HDFC; Piyush Pandey, chief creative officer of Oglivy, a marketing firm; and PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Russel Parera.

The major product of the Mumbai-based company is STEPapp, a phone app that puts curricula into games, seeking to give children conceptual clarity in math and science.

Eduisfun will use the funds to increase its scholarship pool and product development, according to VC Circle.

Estonian startup raises over $1 million as it aims to expand its client base. Tallinn, Estonia-based Clanbeat, which provides personalized growth support tools for students and teachers, has raised $1.2 million in funding from Japan-based investment company Mistletoe, Inc., and angel investors Martin Henk and Ragnar Sass, Clanbeat announced.

The company said it aims to help design a humane employee experience through increased engagement and cooperation, supporting human resource processes from onboarding to growth, and helping to reach better results through leadership focused on individual and collegial growth.

The solution also provides services to students including individual learning support and personal growth journey planning.

Clanbeat said it aims to launch an upgrade to its platform in spring 2020, and offer its solution to many more schools around the world. The company currently serves clients in Northern Europe and Southeast Asia.

“Besides individual learning plans—community and 1-on-1 support is often needed [for] reaching new heights. We are here to help with the process of systematically organizing one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions to attain one’s goals in this ever-changing world,” Clanbeat founder and CEO Kadri Tuisk said in a statement. “I’m super excited to work with…Mistletoe because of [our] shared vision around a human-centered future.”

Tuisk, Tiina Pauklin, Christjan Schumann, and Triin Noorkoiv in 2018 founded Clanbeat, which has seven employees.

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15 thoughts on “K-12 Dealmaking: Pearson Ventures Makes First Investments; Indian Curriculum-Gaming Company Raises $28 Million

  1. Hey Brian, thanks for sharing this informative post. It feels good while reading about how startups are growing at a high rate and people are investing more in startups. Keep sharing these kinds of posts as the success stories of startups will inspire more Tech minds in the country.

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