By guest blogger Kevin Connors
The final week of January 2015 brought not only winter storm Juno, but also a flurry of venture capital activity in the education space. From ed-tech accelerators to digital textbooks, here are your highlights.
AT&T Accelerator: The multinational telecommunications company is launching an ed-tech accelerator for promising entrepreneurs called the AT&T Aspire Accelerator. The funds come from the company’s $350 million commitment to education, which has also supported Udacity, Khan Academy, and the White House’s ConnectEd initiative. Both for-profit and non-profit education entrepreneurs can apply for the six-month “customized program that includes financial investment, access to expert services and mentorship,” according to a recent statement from company officials.
RedShelf: The Chicago-based ed-tech startup raised $2 million in Series A funding from the National Association of College Stores and previous investors. RedShelf is a digital-reader platform that allows readers and publishers to buy, sell, share, and distribute eBooks, eTextbooks, academic articles, and other documents. The company said it will use the funding to add new products and features and improve the current platform. RedShelf also plans to expand its network of partnerships with 350 bookstores and 400 independent publishers, including major education publishers Pearson and McGraw-Hill, by the end of 2015.
CodeHS: CodeHS is bringing computer sciences to a classroom near you. The San Francisco-based company provides high schools with web-based instructional materials, video tutorials, and coding exercises to over 10,000 teachers around the world. They recently raised $1.75 million in seed financing, which they will use to offer new courses and online teacher training, among other additions, according to the company’s recent blog post. Chmod Ventures, Kapor Capital, Learn Capital, the NewSchools Seed Fund, Seven Peaks Ventures, the Standford-StartX Fund, and other angel investors participated in this round.
TeachMate365: Ed-tech startup SpecialNeedsWare raised $3 million in a Series A round for a new platform designed for special needs educators. The startup’s cloud-based teaching platform, TeachMate365, helps educators, parents, and therapists collaborate to meet the unique needs of individual students. Teachers can share lesson plans, schedules, goals, and student progress updates. Students can use their smartphones and tablets to access educational materials and lessons. The new funding will be used for product development, sales, and marketing.
For more news on mergers, acquisitions, and venture capital in education, follow Marketplace K-12’s “K-12 Dealmaking” series.