Parchment Adds $10M to Expand Digital Credential Platform

Higher Education

Parchment Adds $10M to Expand Digital Credential Platform

Mar 19, 2014

Scottsdale, AZ-based Parchment has raised $10 million in a follow-on investment to its $23.5 million Series D round from Oct. 2012. The Raine Group led the funding, with Novak Biddle Venture Partners, Salmon River Capital, GSV Capital and ICG Holdings, Inc. also participating. The company has now raised $45 million.

Founded in 2003, Parchment help students store, access and share digital transcripts with schools and other organizations. In the press release, the company boasts that the platform exchanged over 1.8 million credentials just in the fourth quarter of last year. New registrations on Parchment also increased by 90% over the trailing twelve months, jumping from 800,000 to nearly 1.6 million.

CEO Matt Pittinsky says new features are in the pipeline, which include allowing students to see their odds of getting into a school based on how their academic credentials compare with those who have been accepted in the past. So far, the company has developed predictive models for 1,000 schools. He admits that "in schools that take a more holistic approach in the acceptance process, our models are not very helpful...But in places like UC Berkeley [that focus more on academics], it can be quite accurate."

In addition, the company will broaden its platform to better serve employers and organizations in other industries. "Beyond academics there is a very big world of informal credentials--like wedding planners--which are currently a small part of our services," he says. Of the 5,500 organizations working with Parchment, only roughly 250 are non-academic, according to Pittinsky.

Parchment's growth comes at a time when alternative credentials are coming in vogue. The plenitude of opportunities for learners old and young to pick up skills from MOOCs and services like has led to increasing enthusiasm for credentialing methods like badging. Pittinsky says the platform will soon allow users to display certificates and badges from various online education providers.

He firmly believes, however, that formal credentials and degrees won't disappear anytime soon. "We don't see ourselves as a part of the 'hack the credential' wave," says Pittinsky. "Traditional credentials have value as a form of currency...and it's important to move them into a digital world."

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