Venture Capital Roundup: Four Ed-Tech Companies Secure New Funding

By guest blogger Kevin Connors

The Easter Bunny left a basket full of cash for four ed-tech companies. From a teacher supplies marketplace to the “Netflix of children’s books,” here are some recent venture capital highlights:K-12_Dealmaking.gif

Schoolrunner: Denver, Colo.- based Schoolrunner raised $1.5 million from the Colorado Impact Fund, which invests in Colorado-based companies that generate return on investment and social impact. Through its online platform, teachers and administrators can track student data across academics, behavior, and attendance. Company officials believe the platform provides teachers the comprehensive information needed to quickly identify when a student is falling behind and provide appropriate interventions. Schoolrunner started with one school in New Orleans in 2012 and has spread solely through word of mouth, according to a recent statement. They now serve over 72 schools and 50,000 students across the United States. Funds will be used to hire additional programmers, improve the user experience, and grow its sales team.

Educents: Given that average teacher spends $500 on classroom supplies each year, most teachers would welcome a more efficient and affordable way to purchase materials. That’s what the Oakland, Calif.-based Educents seeks to provide through its online marketplace. Founded in 2013, Educents’ marketplace allows teachers to buy, research, and review products, such as toys, worksheets, lesson plans, and digital content. The company works with established providers to offer daily deals and discounts. As of March 2015, the company says it has 200,000 registered members, is adding 50,000 new users a month, and lists over 5,000 products in the online marketplace. That growth led to a recent seed round of $2.9 million from a slew of investors.

Tales2Go: Colloquially referred to as the “Netflix of children’s audio books,” Tales2Go seeks to improve literacy skills by adding a listening component to reading instruction. The company offers over 3,000 audio books for learners age 5-15 with the aim of improving vocabulary acquisition and retention. In a recent statement, Tales2Go says its product is used in some of the largest districts in the United States, including California’s Las Angeles Unified school district and Berkeley Unified school district, Florida’s Broward County Schools, and Iowa’s Heartland Area Education Agency. The company recently landed $2.4 million of venture capital in a Series A round, which will be used to fund future expansion in the U.S., Canada, and international markets. The company also announced that Richard Barth, CEO of the KIPP Foundation, was elected to the board of directors.

Monkimun: Believing that students who become multi-lingual “reap life long advantages,” San Francisco and Madrid-based Monkimun developed an adaptive language learning platform specifically designed for 2-6 year olds, a time when children’s brains are best suited for language acquisition. Just six months out of beta, the company says it has more than 1 million downloads and serves 20,000 students across the globe. Last week they raised $1 million in a seed round from 500 Startups, SHO-zemi Innovation Ventures, Incuvest and Lanzame Capital. For more on Monkimun’s rise, see Tech in Asia’s recent story

For more news on mergers, acquisitions, and venture capital in education, follow Marketplace K-12’s “K-12 Dealmaking” series. 

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