EdTech Funding News

EdTech Funding: Over $270 million in August 2014

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Thanks to some significant rounds for Pluralsight ($135 million), Edmodo ($30 million) and Desire2Learn ($85 million CAD), August has been another strong month in edtech funding. All in all, over $270 million have been invested in edtech startups, ranging from seed to Series D rounds.

We did not include rounds in India and Asia in this rundown and will publish them shortly in a separate post. In this overview you find investments in North America, Europe and the Middle East.

Growl Media

Edutainment startup Growl Media raises Series A from Auvest Group

Growl Media, an edutainment startup based in Dubai that creates educational apps and games for children, has raised an undisclosed Series A round from Auvest Group. Through the investment Auvest acquired a minority stake in Growl Media along with the option to later increase its shareholding. Two executives from Auvest will join Growl Media’s board of directors.

“The funding will enable us to expand our product offering to webisodes and TV; continue to build our stable of apps; enhance Eureekah, our technology platform built in-house; and bring our content to new markets,”

states Dinesh Lalvani, CEO and Founder of Growl Media in the press release.

Founded in 2013, Growl Media targets children in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia with its mobile apps and has signed a deal with Samsung to promote the Samsung Galaxy Tab for Kids.

Further Reading

Growl Media secures Series A investment from Auvest Group | Press Release


growlmedia.com | Twitter


E-Textbook Rental Platform Packback raises $1 million Seed Round

Packback, an e-textbook rental platform, has completed a $1 million seed round that started with a $250k investment from Marc Cuban on the TV show Shark Tank reports WSJ. Other investors in the round include The 20 Million Minds Foundation, Howard Tullman, Mark Achler, Mark Tebbe, and Rishi Shah.

Packback’s unique angle is a so called “pay-per-view” option which lets students rent an e-textbook for 24h priced at around $5. Packback aims to convert students to either buy a used textbook or rent an e-textbook for an entire semester.

According to the Packback website over 60.000 students across 80 US campuses already joined the movement which can access 3,000 titles for short-term rental in about 21 different popular subjects.


Further Reading

After Shark Tank, Packback Seeded For ‘Pay-Per-View’ E-Textbook Rentals | Wall Street Journal


packbackbooks.com | Twitter


Music Education Startup JoyTunes raises $5 million Series A

Tel-Aviv-based JoyTunes, a startup that creates apps for music teachers and students, raised a $5 million Series A led by Aleph VC with participation from Formation 8 and existing investor Genesis Partners.

JoyTunes aims to gamify learning a musical instrument through apps that interact with the music played and therefore turn the practice into a game-like experience. Launched in 2010, the app has been downloaded 3.5 million times and over 1 million songs are practiced each week. After this latest funding round, JoyTunes is free to use for music teachers and their students according to WSJ.


Further Reading

JoyTunes Collects $5M to Make it Fun to Learn to Play Music | Wall Street Journal


joytunes.com | Twitter


Assessment and Communications Platform FreshGrade raised $4.3 million Seed Round

British Columbia-based FreshGrade, an assessment and communications platform for teachers, raised a $4.3 million Seed Round from NewSchools Venture Fund, Emerson Collective, Accel Partners and Social+Capital.

Founded in 2011, FreshGrade offers an education resource for teachers, parents and administrators with the aim of streamlining communication between the different parties and maximise student engagement in the classroom.

“FreshGrade is designed to provide richer reporting and communication capabilities while cutting down on the amount of time required from teachers and administrators. Ultimately our vision is to be able to streamline lesson planning and assessment and allow administrators and teachers to spend more time working with students and communicating with parents.”

states FreshGrade Co-Founder Steve Wandler in the press release.


Further Reading

FreshGrade Secures $4.3 Million in Seed Funding from NewSchools Venture Fund, Emerson Collective, Accel Partners and The Social+Capital Partnership | PR Newswire


freshgrade.com | Twitter


Anonymous Photo Sharing App for College Students Unseen raises $2.1 million Seed Round

Austin-based Unseen, an anonymous photo sharing app for college students raised $2.1 million from a group of angel investors including Rackspace co-founder Dirk Elmendorf, Indeed.com CEO Rony Kahan and the CEO of Woodbolt International Doss Cunningham reports TechCrunch.

The app lets anyone share photos with people around them without the need to open an account or giving a username. The round comes shortly after Yik Yak, another anonymous app in the college space, raised their $10 million Series A in June. Unseen wants to tackle cyberbullying, a common problem among these kind of services, through manual and outsourced moderation.


Further Reading

Unseen, An Anonymous Photo Sharing App For Colleges, Raises $2.1 Million | TechCrunch


getunseen.com | Twitter


Quizz Grading App QuicKey raised $150k

Cambridge-based QuickKey, a mobile application that turns smartphones into quizz scanners, raised $150k in convertible debt from advertising company The Educator’s Network reports BostInno.

Founded in 2013, Quick Key had already raised $22k from a successful Kickstarter campaign and an undisclosed angel round from ARC Capital in May of this year. The app turns the smartphone camera into an optical scanner, enabling the teacher to scan and grade up to 10 quizzes in 30 seconds as well as uploading the results to a cloud-based grade book. The Quick Key app also works in classrooms without Internet connection or access to computers.


Further Reading

Quick Key Closes $150K Investment on its Road to Revolutionizing Personal Instruction | BostInno


get.quickkeyapp.com | Twitter


LTG Exam Prep Platform raised $3 million Series A for Mobile Test Prep

LTG Exam Prep Platform, a mobile test prep startup out of MIT, raised a $3 million Series A from Tal Education Group, Atlas Venture, Jamie McCourt, Yongjin Group and Zhen Fund reports TechCrunch.

LTG’s test prep app Prep4GMAT features a patented technology called Label Study Method, helping students to recognize patterns through visual cues and keywords. The app also helps learners to better understand their weaknesses and features a tutoring marketplace with certified tutors from across the globe. The startup plans to extend its apps into SAT prep in a next step.


Further Reading

LTG Exam Prep Platform Raises $3M In Series A Round To Develop SAT, More Test Apps | TechCrunch


prep4gmat.com | Twitter


3D Content Publisher Verold raised $1.6 million

Toronto-based Verold, a 3D content publishing platform, raised $1.6 million from Growthworks Capital, the Ontario Growth Fund and a group of angel investors.

Verold’s goal is to weave 3D content into the fabric of the Web, making it easy to deliver a rich, engaging and interactive user experience on any device. The startup is currently taking part in the Pearson Catalyst program, working on an interactive educational experience around content in Developmental Psychology.

Further Reading

Verold Secures $1.6MM in Second Round of Funding | Press Release


verold.com | Twitter

Other Funding Rounds

Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at KirstenWinkler.com.