The Chicago-based edutech startup BenchPrep has raised $6 million to fund its business model of reworking standardized test prep for the digital age. Not bad for a company that just launched last year.
The service provides test prep courses on the web and on iOS and Android devices. BenchPrep boasts partnerships with more than 20 publishers, including McGraw Hill, Nova Press, and Cengage Learning, which provides the company with vetted learning material for tests like the MCAT, SAT, GRE, and all those other acronyms you heard at some point in your education.
BenchPrep’s model is characterized by the seamless integration between mobile devices. Like any quality cloud-based service, the program syncs your progress—answered questions, tests taken, etc—and allows you to pick up where you left off from any device. Think Google Docs for SAT prep.
The service also includes an online community of learners engaged in test prep. Users can post questions and ask for help, and fellow learners can join in the conversation and collaborate. Sometimes learning with a team is the best bet, and by embracing the power of social media, BenchPrep aims to capitalize on this concept.
The price is also something that the company hopes will attract customers. A quick glance reveals the programs LSAT prep course costs $149.99. In comparison, Kaplan’s lowest-priced “On Demand” LSAT program costs $549. Of course, there are likely plenty of additional factors that contribute to those costs, but BenchPrep is clearly trying to keep standardized test prep affordable and easy.
The $6 million in funding was led by New Enterprises Associates and followed last-year’s $2.2 million investment from Lightbank. For a company that has only been around for a little over a year, this startup certainly seems to have legs.
Have you used BenchPrep or any other form of online standardized test prep? We’d love to hear your thoughts about these kinds of services in the comments below!