The days of chalkboards and workbooks may soon be a relic of times past. Teachers these days can supplement their curricula with interactive software and proctor tests without making hundreds of paper copies.
While new technology may enhance the learning process for students, it can be challenging for instructors to implement, which is why education startup Clever has raised $3 million to make this process easier.
Clever’s technology integrates data held in Student Information Systems (SIS) into educational software. If students use the internet to complete assignments or execute projects, teachers need this online activity to connect with overall tracking of their performance. This can be time-consuming and confusing for educators not trained in IT, which is where Clever comes in.
Founder Dan Carroll experienced this frustration first hand while working as the director of technology for a school district. He saw that educational software made things more complicated for teachers and set out with his two former Harvard classmates Tyler Bosmeny and Rafael Garcia to address this.
“One of the biggest changes in education is blended learning,” said Bosmeny. “There is so much innovation happening in software helping kids learn and boosting test scores, but when software isn’t integrated, data becomes siloed and out of date. We realized there was a data problem to helping schools fully use this software, and by making it faster and easier, we are transforming education.”
Clever works with developers of online learning applications so by the time the software arrives in schools, “it just works.” The information coming from these programs automatically updates student data, so teachers don’t have to. Since founding Clever in April and participated in the Y Combinator accelerator program, Clever has established partnerships with 40 ed tech companies, including DreamBox, Scientific Learning and MasteryConnect. Through these deals, the benefit of this technology reaches 2,000 schools and 650,000 students.
Bosmeny said that going through Y Combinator encouraged the team to iterate their product quickly and often, and to not only attract the attention of top tier investors, but also of influencers in the online learning space. A number of Y Combinator partners personally invested in this $3 million round, as well as SV Angel, Mike Maples, Jeff Clavier, Google Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Mitch Kapor, and Ashton Kutcher. From the education world, John Katzman of the Princeton Review and 2tor, founder of Chegg Aayush Phumbhra, and Inkling CEO Matt MacInnis also provided support.
The funding will go towards growing the scale of the company and the number of partnerships so that one day, Bosmeny said, all education software will plug into Clever.