edtech news pinata

EdTech News Piñata – ENT #23 04-25-2014

This week on ENT we have EdTech news piñata with quite a few interesting stories for you that illustrate how fast edtech is developing in almost all parts of the world.

India makes the news with funding for a higher science social network and an autism app, and of course TutorVista founder Ganesh acquiring an online school for working professionals.

Adaptive learning platforms and services in the US and China accelerate through new fresh funding and the launch of new tools and services for a more personalized college admissions process.

Yik Yak leaves the cyberbullying scandal behind and gets more money.Curation startup Zoobean also secures funding.

The MOOC / LMS space continues to spark interest in Finland and the US with Guides.co certainly attracting a broader, more business-oriented audience.

Talking about growing a business, Udemy saw an important change of management this week with Dennis Yang becoming the company’s new CEO.


Function Space raised Seed Funding

Function SpaceIndian social learning network for science Function Space announced that it has secured an undisclosed amount of Seed Funding.

Function Space aims to be the social platform where researchers, professors and students meet to discuss and collaborate. However, the startup is also open to the general public interested in higher education science topics and research.

Zoobean raised $250k from Mark Cuban plus an additional $400k

ZoobeanWashington D.C. based Zoobean, a curation platform for educational apps, books and literacy resources for children raised $250k from Mark Cuban on Shark Tank. The episode has been filmed in July 2013.

On Tuesday Zoobean announced that it raised an additional $400k. The startup was founded in 2012 by husband and wife team Felix Brandon Lloyd, a former teacher of the year and Jordan Lloyd Bookey, Google’s former head of K-12 education outreach.

Yik Yak raises $1.5 million Seed Round

Yik YakThe hyper-local messaging app for college students Yik Yak raised a $1.5 million Seed Round from Vaizra Investments, DCM, Azure Capital Partners and several other angels.

The funding comes on the heels of a cyberbullying scandal which made headlines across the USA, but was also handled in a proactive way by the Yik Yak founders.

Invention Labs raises $550k Seed Round

Avaz Autism appIndian edtech startup Invention Labs has raised a $550K Seed Funding round for its picture based communication app called Avaz AAC that helps children with autism develop verbal skills.

According to lead creator Ajit Narayanan already “thousands” of children in English speaking countries like the U.S. and Australia but also in European countries like Italy, Denmark as well as in India are using the app.

Declara raises $16 million Series A

DeclaraDeclara, an edtech startup that offers an adaptive learning platform for continuing education, has raised a $16 million Series A led by GSV Capital.

Declara’s adpative learning platform uses semantic search, predictive analytics and machine learning to surface the right content for individuals at the right time, making learning more personalized and discovery oriented.

Guides.co raises $500k Seed Round

Guides.coAccel.io, a resource site for free and premium interactive guides, rebranded itself to Guides.co and raised a $500k Seed Round.

Guides.co intends to be the ultimate destination for all long-form, instructional content according to the startup’s blog.

Eliademy raises €200k Seed Round

EliademyCBTec, the Finnish startup behind the LMS / MOOC platform Eliademy raised seed funding from Inventure. Though the amount has not been disclosed, TechCrunch estimates the round at €200.000. Eliademy is also planning to raise a €4 million Series A by December 2014.

Eliademy is based on the open source Moodle platform and gained significant traction and revenue without making a marketing push.

ChaseFuture raises $400k Seed Round

ChaseFutureChaseFuture, a Shanghai-based startup that offers college and grad school applicants personalized admissions consulting raised a $400k Seed Round from Banyan Partners, Harbor Pacific Capital, William Bao Bean of SingTel Innov8 and Shanghai’s AngelVest consortium.

The funding will be used to expand the service into India, Turkey, Egypt, and Russia.

Mergers & Acquisitions

TutorVista founder acquires Avagmah

AvagmahSerial Internet entrepreneur Krishnan Ganesh and wife have acquired Avagmah, an online school for working professionals. They are also close to investing more than $16 million to scale up this venture.

Founded in 2008 Bangalore-based Avagmah, which means intelligence in Sanskrit, claims to be the fastest growing online education company in India. The company has developed a platform that allows international universities to bring their courses and degree programs online.

Other News

General Assembly launches Opportunity Fund

General Assembly Opportunity FundGeneral Assembly announced a scholarship program in partnership with Microsoft, Google, Hirepurpose and Nas. The Opportunity Fund offers generous scholarship funds to help veterans, women, and minorities become less underrepresented in the tech industry.

Scholarship receivers get an $8,500 tuition subsidy of the standard $11,500 tuition price. For the remaining $3,000 payment plans and additional financing options are available.

Parchment launches College Match

ParchmentParchment launched a new tool named College Match that allows students to personalize the application process and discover the colleges most appropriate to them.

College Match takes into consideration a variety of aspects including test scores and credentials of course, but also students’ preferences and interests to help them make an educated evaluation of their chances of being accepted into certain colleges.

Udemy COO Dennis Yang appointed CEO

Dennis Yang Udemy CEOUdemy appointed its current COO Dennis Yang as new CEO, co-founder with current CEO Eren Bali taking the role of chairman and head of product according to Venture Capital Dispatch.

Yang joined the edtech startup as COO in December 2012 at the time Udemy had raised its $12 million Series B round and was appointed CEO by Eren Bali and the board to grow the overseas business according to WSJ.

Picture “Viva Piñata” by peasap, Some Rights Reserved

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