K-12 Dealmaking: ThinkCERCA, Gaosi Education Raise Funds

Contributing Writer

A handful of ed-tech companies raised funds including literacy solutions provider ThinkCERCA, Chinese ed-tech platform Gaosi Education and higher education learning community Packback.

Gaosi Education Raises $83 Million: Chinese K-12 education company Gaosi Education has raised $83 million in a funding round led by China Media Capital and AlphaX Partners, according to press reports.

Other investors who joined the round include China International Capital Co Ltd, Sinovation Ventures, Hina Group, and Loyal Valley Capital, the reports noted.

The Beijing-based educational and training institution provides services for middle and primary schools, according to Crunchbase, which noted that Gaosi offers courses for gifted children from primary school to junior high school and also has set up personalized one-to-one teaching centers, where mathematics competitions for primary, secondary, and high schools are one of the featured courses.

ThinkCERCA Raises $10 Million: ThinkCERCA, a Chicago-based provider of personalized literacy solutions, has secured $10.1 million in its Series B funding round.

Among the new investors who led the round were Scott Cook and Signe Ostby, founders of the Valhalla Charitable Foundation; Cook is the founder of Intuit—a provider of financial, accounting, and tax preparation software for individuals and small businesses, according to a statement from ThinkCERCA.

A number of other hedge fund managers and investors from the tech, education, and corporate sectors also joined the round, including China-based TAL Education Group; LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner and Mike Gamson, senior vice president of LinkedIn; Chuck Templeton, the founder of OpenTable; Deborah Quazzo, the founder and managing partner of GSV Acceleration; Sam Yagan, the founder of OkCupid and former Match CEO; Follett Knowledge Fund; and Plum Alley Investments, a syndicate dedicated to investing in women-led companies.

This funding will allow ThinkCERCA to continue supporting student growth in personalized literacy with new tools and lessons that boost students’ 21st-century reading and writing skills, the company said in the statement.

Ellen Murphy Buckley, CEO of ThinkCERCA, noted that the funding will enable the company to “increase the scope and breadth of its impact on student achievement through a proven method for engaging students in critical thinking—reading and writing across subjects.”

“This funding will allow ThinkCERCA to more effectively promote critical thinking at scale in school districts across the country and across the globe,” she said.

IO Education Acquires eSchoolData: Atlanta-based IO Education, a company that works to help educators use data to improve student outcomes, has acquired eSchoolData, a provider of student and data management solutions for K-12 school districts, EdWeek Market Brief reported last week. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Ann Savino, co-founder of eSchoolData, said in a statement, “IO Education’s comprehensive assessment and data management offerings and strong commitment to innovation will provide our customers with the most robust set of integrated solutions on the market.”

Michael Williamson, CEO of IO Education, added: “The addition of eSchoolData extends our product offering, expands our strong presence in the Northeast and heightens the value we can deliver to our clients through continued product integration and enhancement.”

IO Education and eSchoolData will continue to service clients with their existing best-in-class teams, the companies noted in the statement.

Packback Raises $1.5 Million: Packback, a provider of artificial intelligence-powered learning communities, has raised $1.5 million from University Ventures, an investor in education technology focused on higher education and ICG Ventures LLC, the corporate venture capital arm of Ingram Content Group, according to a statement.

The investments will help Chicago-based Packback “continue to scale nationally not only through capital, but strategic expertise as well.” The company noted it intends to raise additional funding through an upcoming Series A investment.

Packback builds artificial intelligence designed to quantify and improve difficult-to-measure student success metrics at scale—such as student critical thinking, soft skills, and curiosity—by analyzing a student’s written questions and essay answers.

Thoma Bravo Completes Acquisition of Frontline Education: Private equity investment firm Thoma Bravo has completed its acquisition of Malvern, Pa.-based Frontline Education, a provider of administrative and HR software solutions to educational organizations across America, for an undisclosed sum, according to a statement.

The acquisition was first announced in early August. Former majority investor Insight Venture Partners will retain a minority interest in Frontline.

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


Leave a Reply