Since 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.
Editor’s Note: This post is co-authored by Paul Gollash, founder and CEO of Voxy and Katharine Nielson, chief education officer at Voxy.
English 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.
Our EdTech Funding Coverage is brought to you by Digital Education.
In 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.
The Robin Hood Foundation announced the semi-finalists of its College Success Prize. Through the competition, the Robin Hood Foundation aims to find scalable and technology-enabled tools to improve the performance of underprepared college students and thus help them to graduate in a timely fashion.
Each semi-finalist receives a $40.000 development grant and support in form of workshops and coaching. The three finalists which will be announced in January 2015 receive an additional $60.000 grant and can win up to $5 million, including the Grand Prize of $3.5 million which will be announced in October 2018.
The seventeen semi-finalists are a mix of edtech startups, established companies and early stage concepts.
Fiverr, an Israel-based startup and one of the drivers behind the so called Gig Economy, raised a $30 million Series C from Bessemer Venture Partners, Accel Partners, Qumra Capital and additional private investors.
The round brings the total funding raised to $50 million.
Canada-based Desire2Learn raised an $85 million Series B led by a large institutional asset manager with participation from Columbus Nova Technology Partners, Graham Holdings, Four Rivers Group, Aurion Capital and existing investors New Enterprise Associates and OMERS Ventures. Silicon Valley Bank also provided debt financing in this round.
The investment brings the company’s total funds raised to $165 million.
Today Junction Education, a startup founded by former McGraw-Hill executive Vineet Madan, officially launched. Junction Education 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.
Last week we wrote about the 60+ edtech startups that are in risk of becoming seed orphans and therefore face an uncertain future. edshelf, an imagine K12 alumnus, is on the brink of shutting down but its co-founder Mike Lee decided to make a last stand in order to buy some additional time and turn his startup around.
edshelf is a socially curated directory of edtech tools that aims to help educators navigate the huge choice of educational apps, desktop programs and electronic products based on recommendations of its community.
500 Startups announced its 10th accelerator batch last week. It 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.
Edmodo has raised a $30 million venture round led by Index Partners, bringing the total amount of funding raised to $87 million according to Xconomy.
Investors participating in the four venture rounds to date include Learn Capital, Benchmark, Union Square Ventures, Greylock Partners and others.