K-12 Dealmaking: Sesame Workshop, Reach Capital Form Partnership; Brainly Raises $15M

Contributing Writer

In recent dealmaking news, Sesame Workshop and Reach Capital unveiled a new partnership to support start-ups. And a social learning network for middle and high school students and a math tutoring company received funds from the investment community.

Sesame Workshop Partners with Reach Capital: Sesame Workshop, through its Sesame Ventures investment arm, and Palo Alto, Calif.-based Reach Capital have recently formed a partnership “to help grow the next generation of educational technology startups,” according to a statement on the Sesame Workshop website.

Reach Capital co-founder Jennifer Carolan said in a May 18 blog post that the firm “will leverage Sesame Workshop’s deep expertise in this space to grow our early childhood investing,” adding that “in the year since Reach launched, the Sesame team has supported our portfolio by providing one-on-one mentorship, offering strategic support and sharing research.”

Tanya Haider, executive vice president of strategy, research, and ventures of Sesame Workshop noted in the company’s website statement that “Reach Capital shares the Sesame Ventures belief in mission-driven entrepreneurs and their ability to leverage technology to educate children.”

Reach Capital is a $53 million venture fund founded in 2015 that backs ed-tech startups. Sesame Workshop did not disclose the amount it is investing in Reach; however, Haider told Recode that it’s “not a huge sum of money.”

Earlier this year, Sesame Workshop announced the launch of Sesame Ventures and its partnership with Collaborative Fund to focus on early-stage startups in the areas of education technology, health and nutrition and social, cultural and family development.

Brainly Raises $15 Million: The social learning community for students has closed a $15 million Series B round of funding led by Naspers, an internet and entertainment group based in Cape Town, South Africa.

The investment brings total funding in Brainly from existing investors, including General Catalyst Partners, Point Nine Capital, Runa Capital and Learn Capital to $27 million, according to a statement.

The Krakow, Poland-based company said “the new investment will be used to accelerate Brainly’s global growth and focus on the U.S. market, while adding new advancements in machine-learning technologies to the current platform, helping to deliver a more exciting, accurate and personalized experience for middle and high school students.”

Tabtor Math Raises $3.7 Million: Tablet-based tutoring company Tabtor Math has raised $3.7 million in a Series A funding round led by Syven Capital. Princeton Review founder John Katzman also joined the Tabtor team as an investor.

“Tabtor is a smart, focused new option for students who want to accelerate their progress in math, and I’m excited to be a part of it,” Katzman said in a statement.

Kendall Park, N.J.-based Tabtor provides iPad and Android tablet-based math tutoring using a combination of digital analytics, tutors and patent-pending Active Replay Technology, which allows tutors to play back student work and give feedback specific to mistakes.

Listenwise Raises $600,000: Brookline, Mass.-based curriculum provider Listenwise raised $600,000 from LaunchPad Venture Group and XSquared Angels, according to CrunchBase, bringing total funding since 2015 to $1.55 million.

Listenwise states on its website that it curates “the best of public radio to keep teaching connected to the real world and build student listening skills at the same time.”

Smartivity Raises $1 Million: New Delhi, India-based ed-tech startup Smartivity Labs Pvt. Ltd has raised $1 million in pre-Series A funding led by New Delhi-based publishing firm S Chand and early-stage investment firm AdvantEdge Partners, according to press reports, which also stated that Singapore-based fund CFG Offshore Holdings, US-based fund Tandem Capital and other investors participated in the round.

Smartivity provides arts, craft and science-based activity kits designed around the Theory of Successful Intelligence proposed by psychologist Robert Sternberg, according to the company website.

Update: This post has been updated to reflect the new name of Listenwise, formerly known as Listen Current.

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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