By guest blogger Kevin Connors
Niagara Falls may be frozen, but the K-12 venture capital stream definitely is not. From million-dollar teachers to self-made STEM experiments, here are your highlights:
Fedora: $2 million in seed funding went to Fedora, a startup that offers teachers a platform to create online courses and sell them to students. The New York-based company believes that the next generation of teachers wants to manage both a classroom and business, and they believe teachers should be paid accordingly, noting that the “million dollar teacher” shouldn’t be an unattainable goal. For more, here’s TechCrunch’s story.
LocoMotive Labs: Assistive and play-based educational app developer, LocoMotive Labs, raised $4 million in a Series A round led by Softbank Ventures Korea and TAL Education Group. The company aims to help special needs students become independent learners through apps such as Todo Math, which along with its teacher dashboard, is being piloted in more than 1,000 elementary classrooms around the U.S. and the world. In a statement, LocoMotive said the funds will be used to increase its presence in the U.S. and Asian markets.
Ardusat: Student engagement is all the rage these days, and STEM-startup Ardusat is capitalizing on the movement. The San Francisco-based company raised $1 million in seed funding to expand its Experiment Platform, which helps students study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through “custom experiments conducted in space or on earth,” according to the statement.
EdTrips: Boston-based EdTrips secured $1.9 million in equity funding to make it easier to plan and pay for field trips. The company’s online group reservation system connects teachers with museums, tour providers, and historic sites to make the planning process faster and more seamless. According to the Securities and Exchange filing, 26 unnamed investors participated in the round, which had a funding goal of $1.98 million.
i3 Grants: Though not technically a venture capital deal, the New Classrooms Innovation Partners won a $3 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to expand its partnership with New Jersey’s Elizabeth Public Schools. The district, which serves more than 23,000 students, will have New Classrooms’ Teach to One: Math, a personalized instructional model, implemented in five additional schools. The program will also be part of a three-year impact study conducted by the Consortium for Policy Research in Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College.
For more news on mergers, acquisitions, and venture capital in education, follow Marketplace K-12’s “K-12 Dealmaking” series.