As you have probably noticed, there was no Sunday Review last week due to the preparation of our first EdTech Pitch Battle on Thursday. Therefore, some of the stories are past their official shelf life yet still relevant in my opinion.
remind101 raises $3.5 million – still no business model
remind101 was part of imagineK12’s first batch of startups back in 2011 and already raised a $1 million seed round. I interviewed Brett Kopf, one of the co-founders shortly after the startup left imagineK12 and since then they have attracted 10% of K12 teachers in the US as users who are in contact with over 6 million students and parents.
Like back in 2011 the app is free to use and remind101 is currently more interested in growth than “turning on the revenue” through premium features. One could say this is somewhat a signature strategy by imagineK12, getting a product in as many teachers’ hands as possible to then have a solid basis for negotiations with school districts about paid versions.
Learnist surpasses 1 million users, launches Android app
When I interviewed Farbood Nivi back in January Learnist officially was still a side project inside of Grockit. Now eight months later, the Grockit assets have been sold to Kaplan and Learnist itself is evolving from a Pinterest for Education (something Pinterest itself is now trying to do) into a learning layer on top of the Internet.
In our talk Farb and I touched on the importance of second screens, how people might use their tablet devices to launch in-depth learning experiences while watching content on their TVs. We see something similar with Amazon’s Kindle Fire strategy, with a focus on the entertainment sector obviously, as the X-Ray feature gives you more information on movies and actors.
According to TechCrunch Learnist sees some substantial growth in China. Adding an Android app might further drive the adoption of the platform in developing countries.
Rosetta Stone launches app for preschoolers
In July Rosetta Stone’s CEO Steve Swad stated that customers gave the company a “brand permission to extend” in order to become a learning company. The launch of an application for preschoolers based on the experience and assets that came with the acquisition of Lexia Learning is a first step.
Educational apps for early learners and preschoolers are a hot market, even with more and more critical voices coming up who doubt that handing a tablet to toddlers is the best of ideas. busuu, which just recently celebrated 20 million app downloads, launched language learning apps for young learners earlier this year.
Academia.edu raises $11.1 million
A couple of months after the Berlin-based science and research social network ResearchGate raised $20 million from Bill Gates and others its closest competitor Academia.edu follows suit with a $11.1 million round led by Khosla Ventures, bringing the total funding raised to $17.8 million. According to TechCrunch, Academia.edu has 4.3 million registered users which would be 1 million more than ResearchGate states on its homepage.
Elance University combines learning and assessment with job search
Elance, one of the biggest platforms for freelance job offers, joined forces with SkilledUp and Smarterer to create a hub where digital workers can not only learn new skills but also get assessment and potential job offers.
SkilledUp is a curation platform that currently has 70k courses from over 300 providers in its database. Curation services like this come in pretty handy, especially since the MOOC hype has added lots of new online courses to the Internet. We had another startup in this space pitch at the EdTech Pitch Battle. SkillAcademy out of Egypt came in second place and has 10k courses listed.
Smarterer brings in the assessment part of Elance University. The Boston-based startup is a crowdsourced assessment platform and wants to kill the classic resume through quizzes and tests that show employers the real skills of a candidate.