The latest edutech startup to see a cash infusion from eager investors: Schoology, which has raised $6 million in a round led by FirstMark Capital. Founded in 2009, the company–currently clocking in at one million users–peddles a collaborative learning platform available in a free version for teachers and a paid version for school districts. The investment brings their total funding-to-date to $9.3 million.
In a statement released this morning, founder and CEO Jeremy Friedman said:
This year will bring more exciting innovations as we pioneer and release transformative ways to connect our users to the best, and most relevant, academic content and applications.
The company plans to use the money for staffing up, entering new markets, and promoting its platform globally.
Betabeat reached out to FirstMark managing partner Amish Jani, who explained that the company’s appeal lies partly in the strength of its technology and partly in its rapid adoption by teachers and students. “It was clear this was disruptive technology and a disruptive approach in an area we think is a big market,” he told us.
Mr. Jani added: “I think the best part about it is that it’s the users who are selecting and adopting technology that they want to use in their classroom environment.” That’s not just a noble democratic sentiment, either–it also makes the eventual pitch to the school district much easier:
With a platform like Schoology, you have teachers and students not being forced to adopt something coming from top down, but they actually can select into the system, and it’s valuable even from a unit of one or a few. As you start getting more and more people sharing, it begins to virally grow and from there, you wind up being able to go back to the district and saying, ‘Hey, do you want some powerful administrative features?’
Speaking of disruptive edutech: FirstMark also announced a $10 million investment in online learning startup StraighterLine on Friday.