EdSurge Wraps Up Funding; Launching New Initiatives

column | Financing

EdSurge Wraps Up Funding; Launching New Initiatives

By Betsy Corcoran (Columnist)     Feb 26, 2014

EdSurge Wraps Up Funding; Launching New Initiatives

Editor's note: This story was updated in May to reflect a second installment to the funding round.

BURLINGAME, CA--In May EdSurge added $960K of investment funding to its previously announced A round, bumping the value of the investment to $2.46 million. The funding will pave the way for the fast-growing, independent provider of news, analysis and events to launch a host of new initiatives for the education-technology community.

“We’re in the midst of a transformation of learning,” said EdSurge chief executive Elizabeth (Betsy) Corcoran. “Using the right technology can open up new vistas for students and teachers--but finding the most appropriate tools is still tricky. EdSurge’s mission is to give teachers, school administrators, entrepreneurs and investors reliable information to make smart, timely decisions about what technology best supports how students learn.”

EdSurge’s expansion plans for 2014 are focused in four areas:

  • Organizing live events across the US to bridge the gap between educators and entrepreneurs. Leading the way will be the EdSurge Summits, which bring together as many as 600 teachers and 35 innovative education-technology companies in a unique hands-on format. (Here’s a blog post by a participant that describes the event.) EdSurge kicked off its 2014 Summit season in Baltimore on February 22, followed by Nashville, TN in April. EdSurge will announce the rest of its 2014 Summit calendar in June.
  • Producing customized research reports for schools, edtech companies, and investors on how specific technologies are playing out in classrooms across the United States. EdSurge already has the largest index of edtech products at www.edsurge.com/products. The company is also evolving proprietary indexes that will make it easier for all parties to learn quickly what’s working-–and what isn’t.
  • Developing a nationwide hiring site to serve the rapidly evolving job market for edtech experts. EdSurge pioneered such listings in 2011 as part of its weekly newsletters. In 2013, EdSurge built an always-on jobs section on its website, www.edsurge.com/jobs. Further expansions lie ahead.
  • Continuing growth in EdSurge’s mass-audience newsletters, which currently serve more than 45,000 active subscribers a week. They can be found at www.edsurge.com/signup

Institutional investors in EdSurge’s $2.46 million, Series A round are led by GSV Capital Corp. (NASDAQ: GSVC) and include Catamount Ventures, the Women's VC Fund, NewSchools Venture Fund and Learn Capital. Angel investors are Steve Blank (of "Lean Startup" fame), Dale Dougherty, Nancy Peretsman, Judy Estrin, Gillian Munson, Kelly Pope and David Bulfer, Joe Gleberman, George Anders, Bud Colligan, Jennifer Fonstad and Martha Ehmann Conte, Imagine K12, John Katzman, Alan Louie, Tim Ranzetta, and Lynda Weinman. Matthew Hanson of GSV Capital, Tory Patterson of Catamount and Jennifer Carolan of NewSchools Venture Fund will join the EdSurge board.

"In a remarkably short time, EdSurge has become a vital center of the edtech industry," observed GSV Capital Corp. CEO Michael Moe. "It's earned the trust of key constituents--educators, entrepreneurs and investors. We are excited about helping Betsy and the EdSurge team continue to frame critical issues and develop innovative events, technology and services in this dynamic, fast-growing space.”

Since its founding in 2011, EdSurge has been based on a belief that the site’s independence is its greatest asset. The company is majority-owned by its employees and executives, who are journalists, technologists and educators. EdSurge’s CEO, Elizabeth Corcoran, previously was executive editor for technology at Forbes Media and a staff writer for The Washington Post.

“I read every edition of EdSurge,” says Esther Wojcicki, who teaches journalism at the Palo Alto High School, serves as vice chair of the Creative Commons board of directors and advises EdSurge. “Without EdSurge, I wouldn't know what is happening in the education space. Not kidding, not exaggerating. It is an important resource for all teachers, administrators, anyone interested in education and especially for people IN education.”

Adds Barnett Berry, founder and partner of the Center for Teaching Quality and an EdSurge advisor: “EdSurge is leading the way in building much needed bridges between educators and entrepreneurs. I look forward to working with this forward-looking organization to help us build demand for more and more teacherpreneurs--innovative teachers who create and lead without leaving their classrooms and students.”

"Edsurge has built an unmatched voice chronicling the history-making edtech revolution currently in progress, “ said Rob Hutter, Managing Partner of Learn Capital. “This has enabled them to build one of the first real data-journalism businesses in the space--education's Gartner Group. EdSurge has the uniquely wide breadth and high independence to do this very well.”

“We regard EdSurge as a voice of clarity in edtech, where accurate information is at a huge premium,” said Jennifer Carolan, who runs the Seed Fund at NewSchools Venture Fund. “EdSurge’s objectivity and neutrality impressed me as an early subscriber to the company’s newsletters; those strengths matter even more to me as an investor.”

Learn more about EdSurge operations, ethics and policies here. Learn more about EdSurge supporters here.

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