K-12 Dealmaking: Substitute Teaching Startup Secures $38M; Amplify Raises Undisclosed Series C

Staff Writer
K-12 dealmaking

Swing Education raised $38 million in a Series C round aimed at helping the company, which connects schools with substitute teachers, expand its platform and work to address the national shortage of substitutes.

The most recent funding round was led by private equity firm Apax Partners along with ed-tech venture capital firm Reach Capital.

The company has raised a total of $60.8 million since it was founded in 2015, including a $15 million Series B round led by Google Ventures, now GV, and ed-tech VC firm Owl Ventures.

A group of investors, including Social Capital, Kapor Capital, Moment Venture, Ulu Ventures, Red House Education, and Edovate Capital, participated in its $7.8 million seed round in early 2016.

The Swing platform is designed to allow schools to request a sub for difficult-to-fill positions, and allow qualified substitutes to find daily placements. It reports working with 2,800 schools in California, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and Washington D.C.

Many districts across the country are struggling to find enough qualified teachers to fill classrooms, and rely on substitutes to help fill the gaps. With the new funding round, the company aims to expand its pool of substitutes and add new partners within those states. The company is looking to expand into new regions next year. 

“We’re thrilled to have Apax Partners and Reach Capital as strategic investors,” said Mike Teng, CEO of Swing Education. “The need for substitute teachers is acute. This additional funding highlights the current strain on our schools and positions Swing to grow our impact, placing even more substitute teachers in even more classrooms.”

Steve Kupfer, venture partner at Reach Capital, said that in addition to broadening and diversifying staffing pools, “Swing’s distinct marketplace model provides upskilling opportunities and unlocks innovative pathways to the teaching profession.”

Amplify raises undisclosed Series C. Curriculum and assessment provider Amplify announced a Series C funding round led by Atlanta-based, Cox Enterprises, but did not disclose the total amount raised.

The goal of the funding round is to expand Amplify’s current K-12 product offerings, the company said, focusing specifically on accelerating product development for digital supplemental programs.

It also plans to launch a new suite of math programs that will combine open-source curriculum from Illustrative Mathematics and Amplify’s subsidiary Desmos Classroom platform.

The new cash infusion will be used to drive M&A as well, the company said, as it aims to make strategic acquisitions in “best-of-breed” education companies.

Amplify’s last public funding announcement was in October 2021, when it announced raising a $215 million growth funding round from ed-tech VC firms Learn Capital and A-Street Ventures, alongside Amplify’s existing investor Emerson Collective.

The company reports having more than 4,000 districts as customers across the country, and said it is working to grow its presence internationally as well.

In a statement, Amplify CEO Larry Berger said the company has experienced “remarkable growth” for the past six years and is profitable.

“The magnitude of learning loss and the range of hybrid models for delivering instruction call for the kinds of products that Amplify builds,” said Larry Berger, chief executive officer of Amplify. “As impact-oriented investors, Emerson, Learn Capital, and A-Street Ventures raised a significant round in order to help us address these urgent needs by being a rapid reaction partner for districts across the country.”

Kira Learning Closes Series A. Kira Learning, a computer science-focused ed-tech provider, raised a $15 million series A round led by existing investors New Enterprise Associates and the AI Fund.

Kira uses artificial intelligence technologies in its platform, which is designed to make it easier for K-12 schools to teach computer science, including subject areas like programming, cybersecurity, and web development.

Along with the new funding round, Kira also announced it is partnering with the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, the Tennessee Department of Education, and Batelle Education to use Kira’s platform as to help implement introductory computer science curriculum in Tennessee high schools.

Tennessee, like other states, including Nevada and South Carolina, have instituted new computer science education requirements for high school graduates.

Kira was founded in 2021 by CEO Andrea Pasinetti in partnership with Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera and adjunct professor of computer science at Stanford University. Pasinetti said the company is well-positioned to meet the growing need for computer science education in classrooms.

“We fundamentally believe this subject needs to be an equal pillar in K-12 education, alongside literacy and math skills,” Pasinetti said in a statement. “With the rigor that went into designing our curriculum and platform, we can take anyone from never having written a single line of code to being able to train a neural network, in just three weeks. We are excited to bring it nationwide.”

Carmen Chang, partner at NEA, said in a statement that artificial intelligence provides an opportunity to “democratize” teaching computer science, and the VC firm believes that Kira can play a leading role in that effort.

“What Duolingo did for languages, we believe Kira Learning will do for computer science and AI,” Chang said. “Specifically, we believe Kira Learning will become the destination for anyone looking to learn CS.”

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