Frank, the college financial planning platform, is being acquired by JPMorgan Chase, as the bank looks to deepen its relationship with students. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
KidPass, a marketplace and discovery platform for kids activities, has been acquired by BEGiN, a provider of early learning activities. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The pandemic has opened a new door for the adoption of education technologies. In response to lockdowns, teachers were forced to quickly adapt to integrate digital curriculums, learning management systems, communications tools, and interactivity into their work. Merlyn Mind is a voice and remote-controlled digital assistant for educators to manage the digital services found in their classrooms. By offloading the technology aspect of education, teachers are able to focus on the needs of students. This year, the company has piloted its combined hardware and software solution in 50+ classrooms across twenty schools. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Satya Nitta to learn more about the inspiration to build a digital assistant specifically for education, the company’s strategic plans, and latest funding round led by Learn Capital.
The market for VR training is expected to surpass $294B globally by 2030. VR learning to train people is more cost-efficient and effective than training in classrooms and online learning. In a recent PWC study, VR learners completed training 4x faster than classroom learners; VR learners were 4x times more focused than online learners and 1.5x more than classroom learners. Moth+Flame is a specialist in providing immersive VR training for the public and private sectors. The company focuses both on soft and hard skills focusing on things like workforce programs for diversity and inclusion and suicide prevention through conversational and role-play simulations; physical training simulations include pilot training and aircraft maintenance training for military applications. AlleyWatch caught up with Founder and CEO Kevin Cornish to learn more about how is time working with Taylor Swift inspired the business, the company’s strategic plans, and recent round of funding from investors that include Bee Partners, First In, Meeting Street Capital, Service Provider Capital, and Spacecadet.
Student debt is a $1.6T looming crisis. The high cost of higher education drives many to reconsider if the investment is worth the return. However, as we move toward more automation and advanced technologies, those without an advanced degree are less likely to earn a living wage. Tackling this myriad of issues is complex and Outlier.org offers high-quality, affordable, and flexible online higher education learning options that are transferable at a fraction of the cost of a conventional college course. The company focuses on intro-level courses, providing flexibility and ultimately making the choice of determining a major more affordable. Each course only costs $400. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Founder Aaron Rasmussen (cofounder MasterClass) to learn more about making higher education more accessible, the impact of the pandemic on how we approach academics, the company’s latest funding round from investors that include GV, Unusual Ventures, GSV, Harrison Metal, and Gaingels.
According to the NIH, 71% of college students reported that stress and anxiety had increased due to COVID. Some of the most common stressors identified were concern over personal and familial health, difficulty concentrating, disruptive sleeping patterns, and decreased social interactions. However, only 5% of these respondents reported using mental health counseling services. Mantra Health is a digital mental health platform that partners with universities and colleges to make mental healthcare accessible to these students. The company offers at its core, a telehealth platform that provides students with access to licensed psychiatrists and therapy providers in the Mantra network and a back-end platform that allows the university to refer and monitor their students’ cases, supported by a robust EHR system. Students can now access vetted providers in minutes rather than weeks without worrying about cost; payment is a blend of insurance and university-sponsored. Mantra is live at campuses across six states presently with plans to provide nationwide coverage before the fall semester. AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder & CEO Ed Gaussen to learn more about the importance of making mental health accessible for college students, the company’s future expansion plans, and recent seed extension from investors that include Canaan Partners, City Light Capital, and Baleon Capital, and Dr. Nitin Nanda.
Coding has become a new form of literacy in an ever-increasing digital world. Proficiency in coding has significant societal and individual ramifications including the potential to improve educational equality, STEM interest, critical reasoning skills, and building an inclusive workforce. Codecademy is one of the pioneering online coding education platforms, launched in 2011. The company now offers a robust catalog of interactive courses for web development, programming and computer science, and data science that focuses on the most relevant and in-demand skills. The startup has already has helped 50M+ individuals and the model is versatile depending on your preference and level of interest in coding with three main products – the free product, Codecademy Pro ($40) that offers unlimited access to the catalog of courses, and Codecademy for Business, which helps companies upskill their employees. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Zach Sims to learn more about the company’s evolution since its founding in 2011, future plans, and latest funding round from investors that include Owl Ventures, Union Square Ventures, and Prosus.
The pandemic has severely disrupted the framework of education globally. With in-person learning halted or interrupted, both parents and students have faced added pressure to adjust to the concept of remote learning. Brainly is a peer-to-peer online learning platform for parents and students that helps alleviate some of these challenges. At its core, the platform focuses on homework help and questions, where students can give or receive help in a trusted community. Not surprisingly, in 2020, the company experienced 75% growth for its freemium service and now has over 350M students in its community. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO Michał Borkowski to learn more about the massive shift in online learning as a result of the pandemic, the company’s plans to expand its product offering and geographically, and the company’s recent round of funding from Learn Capital, Prosus Ventures, Runa Capital, MantaRay, and General Catalyst.
Education is part of health and happiness as a means of intellectual and financial empowerment and as a vector for delight. Happiness can be enhanced by the acquisition of new skills. Where education was once the province only of formal institutions and largely as part of long-term pedagogical programs, today education is becoming a pure consumer product. It is available by the course, by the class, or by the experience, whenever and wherever desired. Professional grade skills, and the certifications that come with them, can be obtained in the precise measures required by the market, and often at no immediate cost to the student.
College offers a myriad of activities outside of the classroom and college has traditionally been the time for young adults to discover and explore their interests. But if you walk through any college campus, you’ll see a litany of activities that frankly can be overwhelming. Rah Rah is the campus engagement platform that centralizes all that college has to offer in one easy-to-use app. CEO and Cofounder Cooper Jones walks us through the need for Rah Rah, building a connected digital experience for academic institutions and students, and the company’s recent funding round from Workday executives Dave Duffield and Phil Wilmington.
COVID has brought digital tools to the forefront when it comes to learning and children and a number of challenges that were never expected. ClassTag was prescient in this respect with its digital communication platform that connects educators and parents to ensure that parents are engaged in their child’s education. CEO and Cofounder Vlada Lotkina met her cofounder Jason while they were their children attended the same pre-school to address the challenges they faced as parents of school-age children. ClassTag now has 24K active schools on the platform with 2 million engaged parents. Vlada shares some insight into the journey of scaling the business, the company’s future plans, and latest funding, which brings its total funding raised to $11.6M