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A Private Equity-backed Thesis
Next Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday here in the US. My New England Patriots decided to take a break from the game this year, but the halftime show should still be fun. Anyway, this opening is just a vehicle for me to explain that next week’s newsletter may land in your inbox Monday morning rather than Sunday evening.
On to the news!
Funding / M&A
Sdui raises $25M: Koblenz, Germany-based Sdui is a Remind-like communications tool for schools to communicate with parents. The company serves PreK-12 organizations, with an apparent sweet spot in daycare centers. The funding from this round will go towards expansion into additional European markets.
Prisms VR raises $12.5M: Not even a year after raising $4.25M, New York-based Prisms’ VR math curriculum is now being used by over 100,000 students in 110 school districts across 26 states.1 It is a good time to be bringing new EdTech tools to US schools as districts work to determine how they can spend the remaining ~$90B of ESSER funding. Not content to simply ride this wave, Prisms is funding 3 separate efficacy studies to prove its products should remain in the classroom long after federal funding for EdTech slows down.
Meadow raises $3.5M: New York-based Meadow aims to help both universities and students navigate the complex financial aid process. They do so via a consumer-friendly website that delivers personalized pricing estimates to students before they apply to universities.
GenLeap raises $3.3M: One of my pet peeves is when a startup calls itself “the global leader” or when its product is “the first of its kind.” Those descriptions lack originality and are almost never true. Except in the case of GenLeap, which I actually believe is the first company to use a saliva test to inform career guidance content. Lest you be concerned that a product like this sounds a little… deterministic, the company corroborates their genetic assessment of your career prospects with astromancy.
MySalesCoach raises ~$600K: Newcastle-based MySalesCoach provides virtual 1:1 sales coaching to corporations. They join a rapidly-growing crop of sales-focused workforce development startups, headlined by Sales Impact Academy, which raised $22M and recruited Trilogy founder Dan Sommer to be CEO last year
SilverTree Equity acquires Thesis: Washington D.C.-based Thesis provides Student Information System (SIS) software to 140 universities in the US, UK, and Canada. It will be interesting to follow Thesis’ journey in an SIS market that is fairly crowded with Private Equity players.
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The above-linked article is worth reading in its entirety, but what you need to know is that Howard swim meets sound incredibly fun, featuring play-by-play announcers, a live DJ, a dance team, and a VIP section called the Splash Lounge. The team, which once went 15 years without winning a meet, is set to win its conference this year and regularly outdraws swimming heavyweights like Stanford, Virginia, and UT Austin
WGU’s Scott Pulsipher on how bundling research and instruction into the same university business model leads to poor outcomes on both fronts. I tend to agree with Pulsipher, but WGU is a tricky example here given the institution’s mandate has been almost purely instructional from day one. Also, I would add “stimulating regional economies” as a third complicating factor that most institutions must balance.
Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) are rapidly becoming one of the biggest topics in US K12 education. In January, Iowa and Utah joined Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia in offering ESA programs to students.
The scheme was uncovered when the school district’s business manager noticed a budget item for 11,000 cases of chicken wings and remembered that chicken wings had been taken off the school’s lunch menu years earlier for child safety reasons. No word yet on whether the plaintiff paid her bail in dollars or frozen poultry.
Question of the Week
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