Netflix chief’s DreamBox Learning startup raises $11M for adaptive learning

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Educational game company DreamBox Learning, which was acquired in part by Netflix chief Reed Hastings, has raised a new $11 million round.

DreamBox has created math software that is “adaptive.” That is, a child can log into an online game, start playing, and the game will react to the skill level of the child. If the child does well, the game adapts the lessons so that they are harder. If the child needs more help, the game adjusts the lessons so they are easier. It also changes the number and type of hints, pacing, and more.

The Bellevue, Wash.-based startup will use the money to expand the company’s educational games for children, expand future product development, and increase distribution. The round was led by Hastings’ Charter School Growth Fund and a private investment by venture capitalist John Doerr.

When Hastings, a longtime philanthropist with an interest in education, bought the company last year along with the Charter Fund, he said he believed DreamBox’s adaptive learning techniques would be applicable to the broader education market.

“DreamBox Learning has cracked the code on improving early educational outcomes for every child – regardless of zip code,” said Doerr in a statement.  “Their robust math curriculum and adaptive learning technology is a game-changer, transforming education across the country.”

In the time being, through, DreamBox has focused on the elementary school education market. Hastings said that DreamBox has executed well and put the company in a leadership position. He said his new investment underscores his commitment to take DreamBox to the broader school market. GSV Capital and current investor Deborah Quazzo also joined the round.  DreamBox said that nearly 500,000 students have logged into DreamBox Learning to view more than 11 million lessons. Test results have been positive.

DreamBox was founded in 2006 and has 47 employees. To date, it has raised $28.1 million.