student loans

One Trillion Problems but a Loan ain’t One – ENT #22 04-18-2014

With episode 10 of On the Ed Chris and I take the show out of alpha mode and also bring back our popular Ed NewsTicker (ENT) format.

As always we take you through the most important fundraising stories, mergers and acquisitions as well as other other news of the week of April 14.

In the discussion part we explore the following verticals more in detail:

In higher education we discuss vertical deal sites that target college students and peer-lending sites with new models to finance your student loans.

In K12 we take a look at the various messenger options and textmessage solutions individual teachers and entire schools have at their disposal. Other topics in this section are student assessment, educational games and kid-appropriate news.

Our last topic is consolidation edtech with established players getting nice buyouts.


Naiku raises $1 million

NaikuMinnesota-based edtech startup Naiku has raised $1.01 million from Gopher Business Angels for its student assessment technology.

Founded in 2010 by Corey Thompson and Adisack Nhouyvanisvong, Naiku sells its technology to K-12 schools and helps teachers monitor student progress on an individual basis. Students answer questions either on a smartphone, laptop or tablet device.

Press4Kids raised $1 million Seed Round

Press4KidsPress4Kids received $1 million in Seed Funding from a group of private investors and entrepreneurs. The funding round was split into two tiers.

Founded in 2012 News-O-Matic aims to provide children between 7 and 11 years of age with world news and to inspire them to read on a daily basis by means of an engaging interactive learning experience that includes gamification elements.

MyScienceWork raises $1.1 million

MyScienceWorkMyScienceWork, a Luxembourg-based communication platform for scientists and researchers, raised $1.1 million in Venture Funding.

MyScienceWork was founded in 2010 by Virginie Simon and Tristan Davaille as a blog about science. Based on its growing popularity among scientists and researchers, the startup launched its community platform in September 2013 and relocated the operations to Luxembourg while also maintaining a branch in Paris.

UniSmart raises $25k Seed Round

UniSmartUniSmart, a Nigerian startup that offers discounts and perks from online and in store to verified African students, received a $25k seed investment from Savannah Fund.

Founded by Frederik Obasi, UniSmart has already worked together with international brands like Nike, Puma, Levis and United Colors of Benetton since its launch in February. The service has currently over 1000 subscribers and partnered with the University of Lagos which has a student body of over 45,000 people.

JumpStart raises $13 million Debt Financing

JumpStartEducational media franchise for children Jumpstart has raised $13 million in debt financing led by Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. JumpStart’s portfolio mainly consists of educational games which are produced by Knowledge Adventure.

Founded in 1991 JumpStart has been developing fun and engaging educational games under its two main brands JumpStart and Math Blaster for more than 20 years. receives undisclosed Investment, a student loan managing platform, received an undisclosed investment from Raj Date through his investment firm Fenway Summer. now manages over $1 billion in student loans. At the time of its seed round in February 2012, just surpassed $250 million in student loans under its management.

Mergers and Acquisitions

SchoolMessenger acquired by West Corporation

SchoolMessengerWest Corporation, a telecommunications services provider, announced the acquisition of SchoolMessenger, a mobile communications provider for the K-12 space.

Founded in 1999, SchoolMessenger offers high volume, on-demand messaging and communication platforms for the K-12 space. According to the press release, SchoolMessenger saw revenue of $27 million in 2013 and thousands of public and private school districts in all 50 states as clients.

CrossKnowledge acquired by John Wiley & Sons

CrossKnowledgeJohn Wiley & Sons, Inc. announced the acquisition of French e-learning provider CrossKnowledge for $175 million in cash. The deal is expected to close on May 1st.

Founded in 2000, CrossKnowledge is a leading European company in distance learning solutions, offering subscription-based, digital learning solutions for multinational corporations, universities, and small and medium-sized enterprises.

Campus Special acquired by Chegg

Campus SpecialFormer textbook rental juggernaut turned student hub Chegg has acquired student deal platform Campus Special for $17 million in cash and stock.

Currently Campus Special is available at over 500 college campuses in the US, connecting millions of students with deals and specials from more than 17.000 local merchants.

Springstone Financial acquired by Lending Club

Lending ClubPeer-to-peer lending platform Lending Club has acquired private education and elective medical procedures financer Springstone for $140 million in cash and stock.

To finance the deal, Lending Club raised $115 million, $50 million of which are debt financing and $65 million are new equity funding from T. Rowe Price, Blackrock and others. Lending Club is now valued at $3.8 billion.

Other News

Knewton partners with Sanoma Learning

KnewtonAdaptive learning platform Knewton announced a partnership with Sanoma Learning, a leading European learning company.

Sanoma Learning, which is part of the Finnish consumer media company Sanoma, has education publishers in the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Poland, and Sweden.

Sanoma launches Learning Outcomes Accelerator

Sanoma Learning Outcomes AcceleratorSanoma Learning, a leading European learning company, announced the launch of a new innovation program titled Learning Outcomes Accelerator.

The program aims to to create innovative learning product ideas that improve learning outcomes.

Picture by Tax Credits via Flickr

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