On the Ed - Alpha

On the Ed – Alpha – Episode 003 2U IPO, another Edtech Funding Week and Free Mobile Education

This week again brought us many interesting funding stories for education companies, some of which my guest Shiv of Affectively and I discussed in this new episode of On the Ed.

We started this episode with the big non commercial story of the week, SocialEDU bringing free mobile education to students in Rwanda. Although some of the companies involved will undoubtedly have an interest to be present in that market and in the minds of people with their products, all of this shouldn’t take away from the ambition, effort and cost involved to make this project a reality.

When it comes to investing into companies and ideas, we can see that professional vocational training (Kaikeba), the recruitment sector (Piazza) and crowdsourcing (Credible, Smarterer) seem to me markets of interest to investors.

We also keep hearing more about social and emotional learning (SEL) but would like to see more hard data being shared on the impact a gamified approach can make to prevent bullying and cyber bullying (If You Can).

Lastly, we think that EdSurge’s latest round of funding could have a positive effect on other education media startups on both sides of the Atlantic to follow suit.


2U files for IPO

2U IPO2U announced today that it has filed for an initial public offering. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined. 2U has raised $95.9 million in venture capital since its launch in 2008.

Uniquedu raises $16.5 million for Chinese MOOC platform Kaikeba

Kaikeba Chinese MOOC platformUniquedu, the education company behind Chinese MOOC platform Kaikeba has raised a $16.5 million Series A led by Fosun Venture Capital Investment.

Uniquedu had started off as a classic offline education service and launched its IT training focused MOOC platform in August 2013.

Piazza launches Piazza Careers, announces $8 million Series B

Piazza CareersPiazza, an online student network and peer learning platform, announced the launch of a new campus recruitment portal called Piazza Careers which lets recruiters search and message students on the network.

Piazza also announced a $8 million Series B led by Khosla Ventures with participation of Bessemer Ventures. The round was already closed in late 2013.

EdSurge raises $1.5 million Series A

EdSurgeEdtech news and event site EdSurge raised a $1.5 million Series A led by GSV Capital Corp. with participation of NewSchools Venture Fund, LearnCapital and a group of angel investors.

With the new funding EdSurge plans to expand into four areas: live events, research, job board and newsletters.

If You Can raises $6.5 million Series A

If You CanIf You Can, an edtech startup that specializes in games to teach children social and emotional skills, raised a $6.5 million Series A led by Greylock Partners.

Founded by gaming industry veteran and EA founder Trip Hawkins in January 2013, If You Can Company creates games and applications for social and emotional learning (SEL) to prevent bad behaviour like bullying and cyber-bullying among children.

Smarterer raises $1.6 million, launches Enterprise Data Tool Flock

Smarterer FlockSmarterer, a platform that tests and scores job seekers on the tools they use every day through crowdsourced tests raised a $1.6 million led by Rethink Education bringing the total funding raised to $4.6 million.

A new enterprise facing product called Flock enables companies to assess the skill set of their current employees to get a better understanding of what they know, where the company needs to offer training and who are its most knowledgeable workers.

Credible raises $500k

CredibleCredible, a platform that enables students to compare student loans and switch lenders raised $500k from a group of angel investors.

Credible enables students to find out if they are eligible for lower interest rates, to quickly qualify their eligibility in a 7-question process and to file a single offer request form to refinance their student loan payments.

Skillshare raises $6.5 million

According to CrunchBase Skillshare, a community marketplace for on- and offline courses targeting lifelong learners raised $6.5 million from undisclosed investors. More about that next week.

Other News

SocialEDU brings free mobile learning to learners in Rwanda

Internet.org SocialEDU RwandaInternet.org announced SocialEDU, an initiative that aims to bring free mobile learning experiences to students in Rwanda.

To make this ambitious project happen Facebook partnered with Nokia, Ericsson, edX, Airtel and the Rwandan government.

Internet.org is a Facebook project that aims to bring the Internet to the two-thirds of people on the globe who are not yet connected.

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