Newsela, a personalized learning platform for literacy, raised a $15 million Series B round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) with participation of Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan, Women’s Venture Capital Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and Owl Ventures.
Founded in 2013, Newsela has raised a total of over $22 million. The product is used by over 400.000 teachers reaching over 4 million students. The funding will be used to accelerate Newsela’s machine learning algorithm.
October 06, 2015 07:30 ET
Newsela Secures $15 Million Series B to Promote Literacy and Captivate Students and Teachers
Led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) With Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, Knight Foundation, Owl Ventures and Women’s Venture Capital Fund
NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired – Oct 6, 2015) – Newsela, the publishing platform that promotes literacy by personalizing daily news to help teachers get their students excited about reading, today announces a $15 million Series B round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). New investments from Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan and Women’s Venture Capital Fund, and follow-on from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Owl Ventures complete the round. Newsela will use these funds to accelerate its machine learning capabilities and expand its footprint to help more teachers, students and school districts with the most effective literacy learning tools, while also helping to get students more engaged with what they’re learning.
In addition to leading the round, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ partner Brook Byers will join Newsela’s board of directors.
“There are more than 20 million U.S. students who are not reading at grade level,” said Byers. “Newsela is uniquely positioned to address that problem, since it leverages technological tools that can help all students achieve grade-level literacy. This will be critical in setting them on the right path for the rest of their educational and professional lives.”
Newsela builds reading comprehension with nonfiction that’s always relevant: daily news. The platform publishes daily articles from top news sources like the Associated Press, Scientific American and Washington Post, adapts articles to five reading levels and attaches comprehension quizzes for each level. Now entire classes can participate in the same conversation by reading the same content, but at a level that’s accessible to each student. Newsela keeps students engaged with quizzes that test critical thinking and close reading, and teachers and administrators can view results in a clear, visual format.
“We offer a meaningful way for teachers to provide current materials, include every student in the conversation and measure how students are doing,” said Matthew Gross, founder and CEO of Newsela. “Our goal is to give teachers the best technology available to make reading exciting and important to each student in their classroom. We want to build a future where teachers can teach the way they dreamed of teaching — with tools that transform education and make kids excited about learning.”
Doubling the number within the last year, Newsela is now being used by 70 percent of all U.S. public schools. It has tripled the number of teachers using the platform to 400,000, which includes educators specializing in all subjects, from science and social studies to art. As a result, there are now more than 4 million students who have read more than 57 million articles through Newsela (even reading 1.3 million articles over the summer while school was out).
“Newsela leverages technology to build literacy among the next generation of news consumers, while informing them about the issues that affect their lives,” said Ben Wirz, Knight Foundation director for venture investments. “It holds great potential for driving engagement with the world for people everywhere.”
As a company, Newsela has grown significantly in the last year, with new offices opening in both New York and Silicon Valley. The team grew by 50 percent, with experts in computational linguistics and machine learning joining the team, while also adding former employees of Facebook and Google.
For more information about Newsela or to join the team, visit Newsela.com.
Newsela unlocks the written word by publishing daily news articles from the best media sources like the Associated Press, Washington Post, Tribune News Service and Scientific American at five reading levels to engage students in grades 2-12 in high-interest topics from immigration and diplomacy to drones and animal extinction. More than 400,000 teachers have assigned more than 57 million Newsela articles to their students. When students read articles and take Common Core-aligned quizzes online, they are developing the critical nonfiction literacy skills that empower them to take part in conversations about complex issues, and prepare them for academic and professional success. To read more, visithttp://www.newsela.com and follow @newsela.
About Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) partners with the brightest entrepreneurs to turn disruptive ideas into world-changing businesses. The firm has helped build pioneering companies like Amazon, Electronic Arts, Genentech, Google, Nest, Netscape and Twitter. KPCB offers entrepreneurs years of operating experience, puts them at the center of a vast and influential network, and accelerates their success through expertise and support in recruiting, product design and delivery, business development, strategic partnerships and brand building. KPCB invests in all stages from seed and incubation to growth companies and operates from offices in Menlo Park, San Francisco, Shanghai and Beijing. For more information, visit https://www.kpcb.com and follow us @kpcb.
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