K-12 Dealmaking: Weld North Completes Major SEL Acquisition

Contributing Writer

Weld North Education, a major provider of digital curriculum, has acquired a social-emotional learning company at a time when school districts have grown increasingly concerned about students’ well-being and resilience. Weld North announced the acquisition on Monday.

In other recent deals in the K-12 market, A Spanish company has received an eight-figure investment, and an early-stage Indian startup has drawn a seed round.

With the acquisition of Purpose Prep, Weld North enters the social-emotional learning market during a time of high stress for students and parents grappling with challenges posed by schools being shut down for in-person classes during COVID-19.

“Purpose Prep provides a framework that’s evidence-based in how to enable a teacher and a counselor to have a new and more penetrating voice than ever before,” Jonathan Grayer, CEO and chairman of Weld North Education, said in an interview with EdWeek Market Brief.

Jonathan Grayer
Jonathan Grayer

“We expect Purpose Prep to become a very important product line for us.”

Grayer said Weld North Education had found several aspects of Purpose Prep appealing, including the company’s video-based curriculum and its effectiveness in training teachers to address contemporary issues such as cyberbullying, depression, and physical self-harm.

He also noted that Purpose Prep’s curriculum is centered around the Core SEL Competencies — self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making—charted by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. CASEL researches and advocates for implementation of social-emotional learning in education.

“Resiliency is a big goal of the process, especially as it relates to [combating] depression and cyberbullying, and giving kids a common curriculum,” for dealing with those pressures,  Grayer said.

The acquisition will position Weld North Education to step into the role of better equipping teachers to address mental health challenges that are ever-present in schools but not directly addressed by general K-12 curricula or the curricula that Weld North has historically provided until a recent partnership with Purpose Prep, according to Grayer.

Weld North’s recent acquisitions include digital curriculum provider LearnZillion in January, and in-school and homeschool curriculum provider Glynlyon in February 2019.

“Digital education is a big part of how schools are going to go forward during the pandemic — and after the pandemic,” Grayer said. “Finding new ways to deliver curriculum that hasn’t been really used at the school level is a big advantage that digital education provides.”

The kinds of video-based social-emotional support that Purpose Prep delivers, he said, “is not possible in a textbook environment.”

ODILO receives $10 million investment. ODILO, a startup that provides digital content and learning services for personal and professional development of its users, recently closed a funding round of $10 million led by investors including Madrid-based Swanlaab Venture Factory, New York-based Endeavor Catalyst, and Madrid-based KIBO VC.

 

ODILO provides access to over 3 million titles of e-books, audiobooks, articles, podcasts, videos or courses, as well as the ability to create original, integrated learning experiences.

“ODILO is the first platform to provide an unlimited, fully personalized, and frictionless collaborative learning experience for all users and organizations,” ODILO Founder and CEO Rodrigo Rodriguez said in a statement. “We have increased learning habits by 3-5x with our digital solution.”

The company will use the investment toward developing its intelligent learning experience technology, increasing its content catalog, and advancing global expansion by entering new markets, the firm said in a statement.

India-based company Uable raises funds. Uable, an India-based startup that provides programs such as group learning and role play activities for 6- to 12-year-olds, has raised money in a seed funding round led by early-stage India-based venture firm 3one4 Capital, according to Indian publication VC Circle.

3one4 Capital head of investments Anurag Ramdasan told VC Circle that the firm was confident in its investment because Uable has a focus on building out a peer learning model with an aim of providing measurable development at scale.

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