The latest online education startup to receive funding? NoRedInk, a web-based application that helps students improve their spelling and grammar.
NoRedInk’s founder and chief executive Jeff Scheur is a former high school English teacher, who disliked grading assignments with a red pen. His students would too frequently ignore feedback when delivered this way.
It’s actually quite rare for educators to start ed-tech companies, but in this case it appears to be working. Scheur has already succeeded in marketing the app to 12,000 schools, according to the company’s website.
Scheur quit his steady job to start NoRedInk, as he saw a gap in the market for a more engaging online tool for K-12 schools.
The app is useful for teachers, too. When students use the app, it aggregates data about their learning styles and provides personalized feedback about how they can improve. Educators then receive color-coded heat maps that highlight their classroom’s strengths and weaknesses.
NoRedInk is designed for teens, so the app is filled with pop culture references. Students are encouraged to manipulate sentences about their favorite celebrities, friends, and interests.
The founders have an aggressive product roadmap in mind. Scheur told me that teachers should check the site every week in September, as the company will release new grammar categories.
“We’re going through all the areas where students aren’t confident in grammar, usage, and mechanics and creating the best interfaces to help them build confidence and improve their skills,” said Scheur.
This first round of funding came from Google Ventures, Social+Capital, Learn Capital, Charles River Ventures, among others.