Blackboard, Follett Software and Pearson, for example - but as school budgets are slashed and as educators become more tech-savvy, many schools are looking for new tech solutions (and free tech solutions) for classroom instruction and administration.Education technology has long been dominated by large, enterprise players -
LearnBoost tackles one of the oldest administrative problems head-on with their online gradebook tool. The startup announced today that it has raised a $975,000 round of seed funding from angel and VC firms, including Bessemer Venture Partners, Charles River Ventures, RRE Ventures, Atlas Ventures, and angels Naval Ravikant, Bill Lee, James Hong, Othman Laraki, and Karl Jacob. This funding is a strong endorsement for the startup's plans to develop affordable, quality software for educators.
Putting Tech Tools in Teachers' Hands
In August, LearnBoost plans to release its gradebook application, now in private beta. The tool manages gradebooks, lesson plans, attendance and will integrate with Google Calendar - providing one account, rather than multiple accounts, to manage the classroom. LearnBoost operates on the freemium model, with a free tool as well as premium features, and as such promises to offer substantial savings to cash-strapped schools.
But it's not just price that makes LearnBoost a compelling choice for educators. The product was developed and designed with teacher input, and much care was taken in the user interface. Implementing technology tools in the classroom can be challenging, and although co-founder Rafael Corrales says his company is "aiming right at Blackboard, Pearson, and other slow legacy software providers," he admits that "our biggest competitor is pencil and paper." User experience is key as teachers prefer tools that are easy to adopt.
The emphasis isn't solely on design and usability as the startup has developed some innovative technology under the hood as well. Much of the LearnBoost technology is open sourced, including their scalable storage solution Mongoose.