New Enterprise Associates announced yesterday a $25 million investment in Edmodo, the social networking service for K-12 teachers and students.
Classes can log in to the network for instant access to resources like homework advice, discussion boards, grades and school notices. Schools and districts are able to create their own URLs within the network for information and resources specific to their area in addition to participating in the entire Edmodo network. Think of it like personal Facebook profiles in relation to public Facebook pages.
Edmodo was founded in 2008 and recently surpassed 8 million members. It is being used in 85 of the largest 100 U.S. school districts and is based in San Mateo, California. Backing investors also include Greylock Partners, Benchmark Capital and Union Square Ventures. Impressively, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman is also on Edmodo’s board.
Edmodo is the latest educational technology platform to catch the attention of New Enterprise Associates. Shortly after the online education platform Coursera announced its partnership with 12 more universities, NEA and other investors Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers added to a $3.7 million investment from Caltech and UPenn. Last April, NEA first backed Coursera as part of a $16 million investment.
Edmodo and Coursera are edtech platforms that both offer their services for free. Their bold business models both amount to “serve customers, make money later.” Their primary goal is to first establish a sizeable user base which will then catch the attention of investment firms. With this massive show of force from NEA and other investors, it appears that both platforms are on the right track.
Edmodo may have caught NEA’s attention when it recently opened its API to third-party publishers and software developers, hoping to encourage the creation of educational apps which would seamlessly work with Edmodo’s social network. The company wishes to launch the apps into the network for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year.
“As a firm, we’re very active in the education technology arena, and Edmodo is far and away the most impressive social learning network in K-12 education,” said Tony Florence, General Partner at NEA in a statement.