On the Ed - Alpha

On the Ed – Alpha – 008 – inBloom and New York – Can’t make it there, can’t make it anywhere

This Friday Kirsten and Chris welcomed Katrina Stevens on the show. Katrina is an educator with of 20 years of experience as a teacher and administrator. She has worked in the district offices of Baltimore County Public Schools and is also a consultant and EdSurge’s summit coordinator.

Most recently Katrina joined the Edtech Maryland initiative which she co-chairs. #edTechMD aims to raise a $3 million fund to invest mainly in Maryland-based education technology startups.

During the talk she gives extensive information what #edTechMD aims at, who they’re looking for in terms of founders and companies and how they want to connect the different stakeholders in K12, higher education and education policy.

As with Katrina and Chris we have two K12 experts on the program, we naturally focus on the stories in K12 and related to it in this On The Ed. The discussion following EdTech Maryland includes the Learning Innovation Hub, Learn It Systems, the big controversy around student data and data privacy with inBloom and somewhat related to this, Capture Education.

The three also speak about 2U and whether and IPO is a generally good sign for the whole edtech market – investors and startup founders are cautiously optimistic and cover SoFi’s peer financing model and dig deeper into student debt in the US compared to Europe and whether MOOCs may help improve the situation.


2U Stock up on First Trading Day

2U IPO2U made its stock market debut on Nasdaq last Friday and closed the first trading day slightly up at $13.98 per share which is 7.5% above the starting price of $13.

2U sold 9.175 million shares at $13 apiece with 1.175 million shares were offered by shareholders while the company offered 8 million shares, bringing in about $104 million for 2U.

Learn It Systems raised $4.1 million

Learn It SystemsBaltimore-based Learn It Systems raised $4.1 million in equity.

Founded in 2007, Learn It provides research-based reading and math tutoring services to struggling public, charter and private school students across the United States and also runs so called after-school enrichment programs.

Fluentify raises $410k Angel Round

FluentifyFluentify, a language learning marketplace based in London, raised $410k Angel Round led by Stefano Marsaglia.

The funding will be used to grow the team and expand the service in Southern Europe.

Medallion Learning raised $500k in Venture Funding

Medallion LearningDenver-based Medallion Learning raised $500k in Venture Funding according to a SEC filing.

Founded in 2013, Medallion Learning provides organisations with a SaaS platform that delivers online courses to their workforce.

Lingvist raises €1 million Seed Round

LingvistEstonian language learning startup Lingvist announced a €1 million Seed Round led by SmartCap with participation of Inventure and several angel investors.

Lingvist, formerly Language Accelerator, is an Estonian startup that wants to help you learn any language in 200h by the means of applying big data and mathematical concepts to the learning process and therefore reducing the time needed to learn a new language by 90%.

LiveNinja raises $500k Venture Round

LiveNinjaMiami-based online expert marketplace LiveNinja announced that it has raised an additional $500K in Venture funding.

Along with the announcement of the latest funding comes the launch of Katana, LiveNinja’s new business facing product. Through Katana online businesses in the ecommerce sector can offer customers an in-store like shopping experience similar to shopping with a personal shopper by embedding the platform on their site.

SoFi raises $80 million Series C

SoFiSan Francisco-based peer-to-peer lending platform SoFi (Social Finance) raised a $80 million Series C led by Discovery Capital Management with participation of Wicklow Capital, Peter Thiel and existing investors Renren, Baseline Ventures, and DCM.

Since its launch in 2011, SoFi has funded $450 million in loans of over 5000 lenders, saving them $9.400 on average by refinancing their student loans.

Capture Education raised $1.2 million

Capture EducationCapture Education has raised $1.2 million for the company’s ScheduleSmart software. The round was led by North Coast Angel Fund and Ohio Business Angels with participation of Dublin-based Fast Switch Ltd and individual investors.

Founded in 2006 Capture Education provides school districts with technology solutions and professional development services to improve student performance.

Tarena International Stock Opens Flat on First Trading Day

Tarena International TEDU IPOTarena International made its stock market debut on Nasdaq on Thursday, trading under the ticker symbol TEDU. The company closed the first trading day flat at $9.06 per share which is 0.67% above the starting price of $9.

Tarena International is the largest provider of IT professional education services in China with a market share of 8.3% and is headquartered in Beijing. The platform currently offers nine courses with IT subjects and two with non-IT subjects. Courses can be accessed via an online learning platform and through a network of 92 learning centers in 33 cities throughout China.

Other News

MediaCore partners with Pearson

MediaCoreVancouver-based MediaCore announced that it has partnered with Pearson to expand the use of video in online courses.

MediaCore offers a cloud based platform that automatically converts uploaded videos so that they can be watched on any device. Under the partnership MediaCore’s technology will be integrated in Pearson’s LearningStudio.

iSchool Project launches in Bhutan

iSchool Project BhutanBhutan’s e-learning project iSchool, a cooperation of Swedish telecommunication solutions provider Ericsson, Bhutan Telecom, Bhutan’s Ministry of Education and the government of Bhutan, launched with six pilot schools bringing high quality education to some 250 students in remote areas.

Learning Innovation Hub connects EdTech and Schools

STEM iHubThe Learning Innovation Hub initiated by the Silicon Valley Education Foundation in partnership with NewSchools Venture Fund aims to bridge the gap between edtech entrepreneurs and educators who eventually use their products and services.

50 startups applied to take part in the first program focusing on STEM. The four selected products are now being tested in schools.

EDUCAUSE partners with Instructure and UCF for MOOC

BlendKit2014EDUCAUSE, the University of Central Florida (UCF) and Instructure announced a joined MOOC titled BlendKit2014 – Becoming a Blended Learning Designer, beginning April 21st.

BlendKit2014 aims to provide not only an introduction to key issues related to blended learning, but also practical step-by-step guidance in producing materials for a blended learning course.

inBloom ordered to delete Student Data

inBloomThe New York State Education Department has directed inBloom to delete all student data stored in the system after related legislation passed earlier this week.

This leaves inBloom with no known customer according to Politico Morning Education.

New York State lawmakers passed legislation that prohibits the Education Department from giving student information to entities that collect and store data for use in a data dashboard or portal like inBloom does.

Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek officially launched

Deutsche Digitale BibliothekThe first full version Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek was officially launched on March 31st. The DDB has been online in an open beta version since late 2012.

The objective of this digital library is to give everybody access to German cultural and scientific heritage free of charge and is part of a bigger European initiative called Europeana.

iversity offers new Certifications for MOOCs

iversityiversity, one of the leading European MOOC platforms, announced three new types of certifications along with the list of new courses for the spring semester 2014.

The certifications come in a three tier plan, priced at €49, €99 and €149.

EdTechMD to raise $3 million EdTech Fund

EdTechMD Baltimore#EdTechMD, short for EdTech Maryland, aims to raise a $3 million fund by early fall according to Baltimore Business Journal.

The fund will make seed investments ranging from $50.000 to $100.000 predominantly in Maryland-based edtech startups. It is part of a larger initiative under the #edtechmd banner which aims to further strengthen the state’s footprint in the growing edtech market.

Kay Alexander is the co-founder and creative director of EDUKWEST. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+