This week Educreations announced they secured a $2.2 million funding round from Accel Partners and NewSchools Venture Fund. We caught up with one of the co-founders, Wade Roberts, to learn more about the success of their Educreations Interactive Whiteboard app and what it’s like raising money in the edtech startup space.
Educreations was incubated through ImagineK12, so had support in the edtech space early on. When asked how they came up with the idea, Wade explained that they wanted to use the iPad to help teachers share their lessons online at a time when learning is transitioning from the offline to the online realm. Currently, the majority of teachers are creating lessons via the whiteboard app for math and science lessons.
The app captures and records everything on the iPad, including voice and handwriting to create video lessons that can be shared online with a small class or more widely with the public. This means Educreations is building a library of learning content that teachers can contribute to but can also pull from and use to support their existing lesson plans. Educreations doesn’t need to deal with district budgets or approvals and they’ve found that teachers are sharing the app with other teachers, so their growing their user base via word of mouth.
Educreations secured this recent round at a time when the number of edtech investments are growing. However, challenges still exist for entrepreneurs looking to raise money. While venture capitalists invested $429.1 million in 82 education-tech deals last year, which is up from $334.3 million in 58 deals the year before, Wade of Educreations admits that they were fortunate in finding supportive investors who believe in their mission. Wade explained, “I think many investors are unfamiliar with the dynamics of education, and have therefore been hesitant to make big bets.” That may not be the case forever. Wade believes this is changing and asserted that “the newest generation of edtech startups look a lot more like consumer web companies than enterprise.”
Educreations is certainly in a sweet spot as more learning transitions online. Wade said, “smart investors are beginning to pay attention to education…” While investors may still be wrapping their heads around the edtech space, VC’s common questions for aspiring entrepreneurs haven’t changed. “The most common questions still center around business model and monetization and how to get to scale within the fragmented education market,” said Wade.
Here’s a sample lesson from their app. It’s a video lesson created by Janet Harris on finding the mean of a set of numbers. Enjoy brushing up on your math skillz!