Edmodo nabs $15M for bulking up 'Facebook' of education

Greylock, Benchmark enroll in translating social media familiarity into interactive learning network

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
December 8, 2011
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2275

Technology focused on the educational field is often hard to spread across the slow-to-change and under-funded districts and schools but one social learning tool - Edmodo - has gained more than 4.6 million users and now has an additional $15 million in Series B funding. 

Greylock Partners and Benchmark Capital led the round that was announced on Thursday.

The online social learning and communication tool is the San Mateo-based Edmodo was launched in 2008 and grew to half a million users in the first two years.

Focused on building a sharing and learning space between students and teachers in the K though 12 system, co-founder Jeff O'Hara stumbled upon the concept while working in the IT department of a school system that blocked a number of social media sites.

"The benefits seen by teachers and students that have been able to work outside the classroom as well as in continue to inspire us,"  Nic Borg, Edmodo's co-founder and CE told VatorNews. "The options continue to emerge and suprise us as well as our consumers."

O'Hara and Borg wanted to create a social platform that was not only suitable to be used in the system but also for the children and teachers to share pertinent information about class projects and school schedules.

Some schools pay for district-specific software that is added onto their computer networking system and Edmodo is trying to make that system more reminiscent of the platforms kids and teachers are already using (Facebook-esque) and provide a space where parents and their children can stay up to speed with assignments.

Edmodo is a free service that lets teachers create classroom groups and invites students and parents to collaborate on the online translation of the school experience.

"Edmodo has a remarkably easy-to-learn interface powering content sharing, collaboration and assignments securely across all types of devices, so it's no surprise to Reid and me that it's become the classroom engine for nearly 5 million registered teachers and students," Matt Cohler of Benchmark said in a statement. "At Benchmark, we invest in great teams whose companies are achieving extraordinary impact, and we're very enthusiastic about Edmodo's long-term success and vision."

Since most people have or are familiar with the social media platform of Facebook, the interactions on Edmodo are easier than some school conversation web portals and the system also has great features such as project management, notifications, quizzes, badges, and places to write and answer general questions.

Schools and districts area also afforded the opportunity to claim unique Edmodo web addresses for added communication and customization and teachers can use the site to network and get advice from other educators in the system.

Just this summer, Edmodo had interactions with 35,000 schools and now it is working with more than 60,000 schools.

Other Internet learning space options Internet-centric education includes the recent $11 million funding round for DreamBox.

The adaptive online learning tool DreamBox, founded in 2006 and launched in 2009, raised its latest round this week with great support from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and a private investment made by John Doerr.

The total amount of funding for DreamBox is now at $28.1 million.  DreamBox plans to aggressively expand into elementary schools, and eventually middle schools and high schools.

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