K-12 Dealmaking: PowerSchool Acquires Haiku Learning; Jefferson Education Partners with Fishtree

Contributing Writer

PowerSchool continued its acquisition streak with the purchase of Haiku Learning; in addition, Jefferson Education announced a partnership with Fishtree, and digital writing solution provider Citelighter gained additional funding.

PowerSchool Purchases Haiku Learning: The K-12 education solutions provider acquired Haiku Learning, provider of a cloud-based learning management and classroom collaboration solution designed to meet the needs of K-12 educators. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“With this acquisition, PowerSchool has invested over $100 million within the past six months to implement the K-12 education industry’s first unified classroom platform,” the company said in a statement.

The company also noted that as a result of the acquisition, PowerSchool will add more than 3 million users across six continents while continuing to serve more than 20 million students—or more than one-third of the total students—in the U.S. and Canada.

PowerSchool most recently acquired TIENET, a software package for the individualized education programs, or IEPs, that are a federal requirement for students with disabilities—from MAXIMUS, a provider of health and human services programs and solutions.

Jefferson Education Partners with Fishtree: The education accelerator has partnered with Fishtree, an adaptive learning platform designed to streamline the process of content curation.

Under the terms of the partnership, Jefferson Education will make an equity investment in the company and collaborate with Fishtree to explore how educators and students interact with digital content – and whether content selection can impact student engagement, according to a statement.

In January, Jefferson Education formed a partnership with math and science curriculum and assessment provider Agile Mind.

Citelighter Raises $2.1 Million: Digital writing solution provider Citelighter has raised a $2.1 million convertible note from investors New York Angel, Baltimore Angels, Harvard Business School Angels, Propel Fund Baltimore, and Blu Venture Investors, said Citelighter CEO and co-founder Saad Alam, in an email with EdWeek Market Brief.

The firm, which Alam said has raised a total of $7.1 million, plans to use the new funds to enhance “technology and sales.”

Citelighter aims to help students break down writing tasks and enable teachers and administrators to create assignments, real-time assessments, and standards-based grading, according to the company website.

More than 8,000 schools are currently using a free version the solution, Alam noted, adding that the company is currently focused on district level and school sales.

Querium Raises $720,000: Austin, Texas-based online assessment platform developer Querium has raised $720,000 in a convertible note, according to the Austin Business Journal.

Investors included the Social Venture Fund, a student-led fund within the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business. The Social Venture Fund contributed $50,000 towards a total $720,000 convertible note round and was one of approximately 10 investors, according to a press statement from the fund.

Querium aims to help students master critical STEM skills, preparing them for college and beyond. The platform delivers “personalized, bite-sized lessons with expert system, step-by-step tutoring assistance that motivates students to succeed,” according to the company website. Also last week, the company announced a partnership with WebAssign, a provider of digital instructional solutions for faculty and students.

NewSchools Unveils Latest Cohort: NewSchools Venture Fund recently unveiled its latest NewSchools Invent cohort, which received more than $3 million in grants to fund the opening of four new schools this fall, and the planning of 10 schools with potential to launch in fall 2017. Fourteen teams were selected from among 52 applicants.

NewSchools Invent, formerly known as NewSchools Catapult, supports teams of educators “who are reimagining public schools through innovative designs,” according to a statement.

Preply Raises $1.3 Million: Kiev, Ukraine-based private tutoring platform Preply, a service that aims to help people find online and local tutors of foreign languages, science, humanities, and various hobbies, has raised $1.3 million in a Series Seed round for further international expansion, according to a statement.

The funding round was led by angel investors Mariusz Gralewski (DocPlanner, Poland), Przemysław Gacek (Grupa Pracuj, Poland), Arthur Kosten (Booking.com), and Hedgehog Fund (Poland) with the participation of international venture companies and other angels.

Cuemath Raises $4 Million: India-based ed-tech startup Cuemath raised $4 million from venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India with participation from existing investor Unitus Seed Fund, according to various press reports.

Cuemath, operated by Bangalore-based Cuelearn, is a math program for students in grades K-8. The company’s core team is comprised of academic researchers and technologists from institutions including IIT, Stanford, and Cambridge.

EDUGILD Signs MOU with Cambridge University Press: The Pune, India-based ed-tech accelerator has signed a memorandum of understanding with Cambridge University Press (CUP) India to jointly support the development of an ed-tech startup ecosystem in the country, according to press reports.

Last March, EDUGILD signed a memorandum of understanding with Cisco to explore opportunities to support ed-tech startups. EDUGILD was founded by the Maharashtra Institute of Technology’s Academy of Engineering & Educational Research and offers selected ed-tech startups a 16-week intensive mentorship and product development program.

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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