Education App Store Chalkable Acquired by STI

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NYC-based Chalkable has been acquired by STI, an Alabama-based provider of school services including student information systems, professional development and financial management. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed; the startup had raised a $1.3 million seed round in September 2012. The team of nine will be joining STI.

Chalkable offers schools an educational app store that helps teachers handle purchasing, student accounts and data management. At the time of this deal, the company had "painstakingly" secured 50 schools on its own, according to PandoDaily, and had 50 apps available on its platform with another 30 in the pipeline, COO Zoli Honig shares with EdSurge.

Selling to schools proved to be a challenge and the Chalkable team looked to others for help. "We were looking to do distribution deals with SIS companies, and it just happened that we struck a chord with our first partner," says Honig. "With a big company, you get stability and scale--and don't have to worry about funding."

STI's flagship product is a student information system, iNow, which boasts over 6,000 users across the country. In Alabama, STI has a statewide contract for all K-12 public schools to use iNow as their SIS. For Honig, this was a goldmine: "We have so much data to tap into now that we can see which kids are struggling with certain Common Core standards and suggest relevant apps for them," said Honig.

To make that happen, the team of nine is currently integrating the Chalkable app platform with iNow. Once that's done, the company could potentially offer developers upwards of 1.5 million students who will use Chalkable as their main app portal.

Founded in 2010, Chalkable was one of the early startups working to build an online destination for procuring education apps. Its growth and popularity has since been eclipsed by similar efforts from the likes of Edmodo (whose app store offers free apps) and Google's Play for Education. But Chalkable's integration with an SIS with considerable state- and nationwide reach could give it a boost.

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