Edtech startup Rafter acquires HubEdu to lower textbook costs

Education startup Rafter announced today that it has acquired HubEdu in a move that Rafter says will help it further lower the cost of higher education.

The Rafter Course Materials Network is a suite of cloud-based software that helps colleges improve how they distribute course materials, making them more affordable and effective for administrators, educators, and students alike, the company claims. HubEdu provides textbook adoption data, comparison shopping, and analytics in an effort to help schools manage their pricing. The integration of HubEdu technology into the Rafter network will give more than 500 colleges and universities the tools to make education less expensive.

“The majority of students who begin college don’t graduate, and the reason they don’t graduate is cost,” said Rafter CEO Mehdi Maghsoodnia. “Course materials are the second highest college expense behind tuition. We’re empowering our partner schools to better serve their students and reduce their cost of education by bringing world-class technology and analytics to educators, administrators, and college stores. The HubEdu team shares our vision of using technology to make education more affordable and effective, and we are excited to have them join our team at Rafter.”

In 2012, Rafter evolved out of textbook rental site BookRenter.com. The company has raised a total of over $60 million in funding from Adams Capital Management, Comerica Bank, Focus Ventures, Lighthouse Capital Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, and Storm Ventures. This marks their first major acquisition and continued growth within the textbook rental space. It is a competitive place to be. In 2011, VCs invested nearly $430 million in the edtech companies, and competitor Chegg has $200 million in funding under its belt.

Rafter is headquartered in San Mateo, Calif. With the merger, the HubEdu team of four will relocate from San Diego. Over the next few months, HubEdu’s technology and services will be integrated into Rafter’s platform so all the schools working with Rafter will have access to those tools.