K-12 Dealmaking: Scientific Learning Makes Acquisition; Noodle Partners, Code.org Raise Funds

Contributing Writer

In this week’s dealmaking news, Scientific Learning announced it will acquire China-based blended learning company BrainMaps. Also, Noodle Partners and Code.org raised funds.

Scientific Learning Corp. to Acquire BrainMaps: Oakland, Calif.-based Scientific Learning Corp. has signed a non-binding letter of intent to acquire Shanghai-based BrainMaps, a blended learning company with over 70 franchised English language learning centers across China, according to a statement. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Through the initiative, Scientific Learning “will acquire BrainMaps to further accelerate growth in the large and rapidly expanding English language learning market in China,” the company said.

Scientific Learning is a software-as-a-service provider of neuroscience-based educational technologies. The company says its programs have been used by more than 2.8 million learners in more than 2,600 K-12 schools in the U.S., by over 500 private practice clinicians, by thousands of students via a direct-to-consumer channel, and in over 55 countries via value added resellers.

BrainMaps was founded by Rick Lee and Tiffany Koo; both were previously national directors for companies such as Wall Street English and Gymboree.

While the letter of intent is non-binding, both parties are working in good faith to finalize definitive agreements in the coming weeks, the statement noted.

Noodle Partners Raises $14 Million: Noodle Partners Inc., which works with universities to create online degree programs, has raised approximately $14 million in a Series A funding round led by Owl Ventures, which joined Noodle Partners’ seed investors, Osage Venture Partners and New Markets Venture Partners.

The capital will go toward expanding Noodle’s online programs at Tulane, American and the additional dozen universities with which the company is working, the company said in a statement.

The Noodle Companies, based in New York City, offer tools and services for schools from K-12 through higher education. Currently there are four Noodle companies: Noodle.com, an education discovery tool that aims to help parents and students make better decisions about learning choices; Noodle Markets, which provides tools for K-12 purchasing; Noodle Pros, which connects students to tutors for one-on-one test prep, academic help, and learning-disability assistance and Noodle Partners.

Last January, The Noodle Companies raised $5 million in a Series A investment from SWaN & Legend Venture Partners. The Noodle Partners previously announced a seed funding round of $4 million led by Osage Ventures in October 2016 and Noodle Markets announced a $3 million seed round of funding led by Rethink Education in January 2016.

Noodle Partners was founded by John Katzman, who also founded ed-tech company 2U and The Princeton Review. To date, Noodle Partners has raised nearly $18 million in funding.

Code.org Raises $12 Million: Code.org, a Seattle-based nonprofit foundation dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities, has raised $12 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Infosys Foundation and PricewaterhouseCoopers, according to press reports.

The new funding will enable the nonprofit to train more teachers and update its curricula, Code.org CEO and co-founder Hadi Partovi told The Seattle Times.

Code.org organizes the annual Hour of Code campaign, which the organization said has engaged 10 percent of all students in the world, and provides the leading curriculum for K-12 computer science in the largest school districts in the United States. Code.org is supported by donors including Microsoft, Facebook, the Infosys Foundation, Google, Omidyar Network, among others.

Flintobox Raises $7 Million: Chennai, India-based educational activities kit provider Flintobox has raised $7 million in a Series A round from early-stage venture capital firm Lightbox and existing investors, according to press reports.

The company delivers activities kits to homes containing play-based activities for kids that promote early child development, according the company, which offers users a monthly subscription plan. With a new theme every month, this research-based box is crafted by Montessori experts and child psychologists, and caters to the 12 developmental areas of a child.

Follett, Trevlac Computer Services Form Partnership: Education materials and technology wholesaler Follett has formed a partnership with Trevlac Computer Services Ltd., a Canadian software development companies for schools and school districts, according to a statement.

The partnership is “a critical element” of the development effort to localize Follett’s Aspen Student Information System for Ontario, Follett noted.

As part of the agreement, Follett will be leveraging Trevlac’s OnSIS solution to generate the appropriate files required for the Ontario provincial reporting system. Moreover, Trevlac staff will consult with the Aspen development team to expedite the process, the company noted.

“This allows us to accelerate our development effort to localize Aspen for Ontario,” said Nader Qaimari, president of Follett School Solutions. “We know that Trevlac brings a wealth of experience and has a positive reputation in serving the Ontario education community. This is a great opportunity for Follett to gain incredible insight into the OnSIS reporting process, and to ensure compliance with all mandatory reporting requirements, which will be of utmost importance to our customers.”

Learnosity Partners With Paperscorer: Assessment technology provider Learnosity has formed a partnership with quiz creating tool Paperscorer to “help bridge the gap between digital and paper-based assessment,” according to a statement.

Paperscorer’s technology will allow Learnosity users to print assessments and their accompanying answer sheets; administer assessments offline; and auto-score in seconds using standard scanners or mobile devices.

Chris Morgan, managing partner of Paperscorer, said there are still many valid reasons to administer assessments offline: “Students with disabilities often require special accommodations; in certain contexts, digital devices may be considered distracting to students; some educators may not be comfortable having their students take assessments online. Our partnership with Learnosity puts the choice in the educator’s hands.”

Added Learnosity co-founder and CEO Gavin Cooney: “We feel that developing partnerships with leading edtech companies helps Learnosity offer more choice to clients. It also means we can focus on improving our core product while making a range of complementary services available to people who want to build using us.”

Kinedu Raises $1.1 Million: Kinedu, a Mexico-based technology company focused on early childhood, closed a round of capital by taking in $1.1 million in convertible notes with investment from Dila Capital, Promotora Social Mexico, and Social+Capital, according to a report last month. Previous investors Stella Maris, The Stanford-StartX Fund, and Advenio also participated.

Previously, Kinedu had raised a smaller round, with investors such as, NXTPLabs, 500 Startups, Advenio, Stella Maris, and private investors as Maria Teresa Arnal, director of Google, Eric Pérez Grovas, director of Jaguar VC, and Blanca Treviño, director and founder of Softek.

Randi Zuckerberg Joins Epic! Advisory Board: Children’s author and technology advocate Randi Zuckerberg has joined the advisory board of digital media brand Epic!, the company said in a statement.

“As an esteemed tech advocate, best-selling author and parent, Randi is uniquely qualified to provide valuable insights based on her experiences in both the tech space and children’s publishing industries,” said Kevin Donahue, co-founder of Epic!. “We look forward to collaborating with her in a variety of ways.”

Epic!’s advisory currently board includes Lane Merrifield, Former CEO/co-founder of ClubPenguin and EVP Disney Online Studios and Kate Klimo, former vice president and publisher at Random House Young Readers Group and children’s book author, among others.

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

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