EDUKWEST Top 10 August 2014

EDUKWEST Top 10: Most Popular Articles in August 2014

Although August is one of the quieter months of the year when it comes to news items for our coverage, this August brought us some interesting stories nevertheless.

From Edmodo’s $30 million Series D over Desire2Learn’s $85 million Series B in the funding section to new hires at Teachers pay Teachers and new launches like Junction Education we had a lot to cover. Here are the top ten stories that got the most attention from our readers.

Edmodo enters IPO zone with $30 million Series D led by Index Ventures

EdmodoEdmodo has raised a $30 million venture round led by Index Partners, bringing the total amount of funding raised to $87 million.

With that amount of money raised it is highly unlikely that Edmodo will ever become an acquisition target which means that all signs are now set on an IPO as we saw with other startups in the edtech space.

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Junction Education launches a Flipboard for College Courses

Junction EducationJunction Education, a startup founded by former McGraw-Hill executive Vineet Madan, aims to provide instructors and students with an easy to use course platform which integrates different kinds of web content into web- and mobile based courses.

Junction Education has received investment from two former heads of McGraw-Hill Education, Robert J. Bahash and Peter C. Davis, who are also advisors to the startup along with former Pearson Education Global CMO Gary L. June.

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Overview: Three EdTech Startups in 500 Startups 10th Batch

500 Startups batch 10500 Startups announced its 10th accelerator batch which will be the second batch in San Francisco with 28 startups from across the globe participating. Ten of the startups did not raise money prior to joining the accelerator program, 24 of them are already generating revenue.

500 Startups is among the most active investors in edtech. In this batch three startups are in education technology.

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There are over 60 potential EdTech Seed Orphans in the US

EdTech Seed OrphansAccording to venture capital database CB Insights there are currently 1686 tech startups at risk of becoming “seed orphans” in the United States. Over 60 of these startups are in the education and training sector, scoring the vertical a spot in the top 5.

CB Insights put those startups at risk that did raise angel or seed funding in the past 13 months but did not manage to raise a seed extension or Series A yet. 13 months is the usual timeframe in which this follow-on funding takes place based on research by the analytics firm.

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Infographic: Second Languages in Europe

Second Languages in EuropeA few of the findings come as little of a surprise. Of course, English is a strong second language in many countries in Europe including France, the Scandinavian countries with the exception of Finland and Italy. Russian has also maintained its strong position in several of the Eastern European countries including the Baltic states and the Ukraine.

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Radically Re-thinking Language Assessment

Language AssessmentEnglish language learning is fraught with ineffective products and failed instructional approaches, complicated by disparate proficiency scales and non-standard interpretations of terms like “intermediate” and “advanced.” This leads to confusion about what results learners should expect after language study. It also contributes to unclear guidelines for stakeholders who evaluate learners’ proficiency, from university admissions offices to future employers.

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Desire2Learn raises $85 million Series B for International Growth

Desire2Learn D2LFounded in 1999, this is only the second round of venture funding that D2L raised. An $80 million Series A took place in September 2012, followed by a series of acquisitions in 2013-14 including Degree Compass, Wigio, Knowillage and Achievement Standards Network. Last month D2L founder and CEO John Baker announced rebranding of its core product, an integrated learning platform (ILP), to Brightspace.

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Startup Profile: ClassDo

ClassDoSince the advent of VoIP, countless edtech startups have tried to leverage the technology to build learning platforms that connect learners and teachers from across the world. Most of these early startups are long gone but thanks to faster Internet connections, better hardware, new protocols like WebRTC and video calls entering the mainstream, live video lessons have seen a renaissance.

ClassDo is one of those new startups aiming to build a global marketplace for lessons of all kind. Based in Tokyo but with an international team, ClassDo has attracted users from all continents mainly through word of mouth.

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Former Etsy COO Adam Freed new CEO at Teachers pay Teachers

Teachers pay TeachersOne year after John Yoo took over as CEO of Teachers pay Teachers from its founder Paul Edelman, the teacher resource marketplace shuffles its leadership again.

Adam Freed, who joined TpT’s board of directors in May as part of its venture round, takes over as CEO. Yoo will go back to his roots as former head of product and focus on mobile strategy and classroom initiatives.

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EdTech Funding July 2014: WeSpeke, OpenEd, MamaBear, ClassOwl

EdTech Funding NewsIn this EdTech Funding Roundup we take a look at investments we haven’t covered in our regular news rundown in July.

WeSpeke, a social network for language and cultural exchange, raised a $3 million Series B. OpenEd, a search and recommendation engine for Common Core aligned resources, raised a $2 million Seed Round. MamaBear, an all-in-one parenting app, raised a $1.4 million Angel Round. ClassOwl, a communication and organization app for college students, raised an $850k Seed Round.

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