K-12 Dealmaking: SPARK Schools Raises $9M; Triseum Raises $2M

Contributing Writer

In this week’s dealmaking news, a network of South African primary schools and a U.S.-based learning-game company received funding to advance their missions, while the NYU Steinhardt Edtech Accelerator has selected nine startups from a field of more than 400 applicants for its three-month program.

SPARK Schools Raises $9 Million: SPARK Schools, an independent school network based in South Africa, has raised $9 million in Series B funding from philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network, according to a blog posting on SPARK Schools’ website.

The company aims to grow its network from a current eight schools to 20 by 2019, extending its reach to 20,000 students, according to the posting, authored by Vineet Bewtra, director of investments at Omidyar Network, who is responsible for leading the firm’s education-related investments across Africa.

Bewtra noted that the SPARK Schools network is one of the first primary school networks in Africa to use blended learning, combining teacher-led instruction with computer-based, adaptive education technology.

“As impact investors, we look forward to the valuable insights that SPARK Schools’ expansion will yield, helping guide our future investments in effective and equitable education solutions,” Bewtra wrote.

Triseum Raises $2 Million: Triseum, a Bryan, Texas-based developer of learning games, has closed an additional $2 million in funding led by existing private investors, enabling the company to further build out its products, operations and team. The company did not name the investors.

Triseum, which grew out of the LIVE Lab at Texas A&M University, has “partnered with experts in gaming and instructional design dedicated to building the highest quality educational video games,” according to the company.

NYU Ed-Tech Accelerator Selects Startups: The NYU Steinhardt Edtech Accelerator powered by StartEd has accepted nine startups accepted into its 2016 three-month, mentor-led program in New York City, according to a statement from NYU Steinhardt.

The companies “address a range of challenges and market opportunities in early learning, K-12, higher education, career development, and lifelong learning,” the statement noted. Chosen from over 400 applicants from around the world, each of the selected companies will work out of the NYU Steinhardt Edtech Incubator near Washington Square Park from October through December.

The accelerator is designed to help entrepreneurs dramatically accelerate their business. The program culminates during NY Edtech Week — the global education innovation festival — December 19-21 at NYU where the founders of each startup in the cohort will have three minutes to pitch in a “Shark Tank” style presentation.

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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