Schoology hits 1M users, raises $6M to expand its social networking platform for schools

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New York-based education startup Schoology has raised a $6 million second round of funding led by FirstMark Capital. The company is seeking to take out incumbents like Blackboard with educational software that is designed to be more like a social network, and which integrates easily with whatever services the school is already running.

We reported when Schoology won the bid for the tech savvy Palo Alto school district. The service has been busy signing up massive school districts, most recently closing on Jefferson, Colorado, one of the 50 biggest school districts in the nation. Schoology founder Jeremy Friedman says the startup now has over 1 million users.

Amish Jani, a partner from FirstMark who led this round of funding, has deep experience in the educational sector, having invested in other heavy hitters like Knewton.

“Having known them for over a year and watched them grow from almost nothing to approaching 1 million users and thousands of school districts in a short period of time was very impressive.  You don’t see that very often in this space,” Jami told VentureBeat.

Jani sees Schoology’s strength in its diverse set of tools: “This is not simply a fun LinkedIn for teachers and students to connect, but a powerful platform that can build robust tests, incorporate grading, embed content from around the web, create robust controls for administration, integrate deeply with existing third-party school systems for information retrieval, and even provide great visibility tools for parents.”

Schoology founder Jeremy Friedman says the new funding will go towards hiring technical staff and bringing on a serious sales force.

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