NEWSELA: $4.1 million to New York-based Newsela in a Series A round led by Owl Ventures, with Knight Enterprise Fund, Cambridge Information Group, and earlier investors New Schools Venture Fund and Kapor Capital also participating. Launched in June 2013, Newsela's reading platform offers current events stories, obtained through major news partners like McClatchy-Tribune, that are rewritten to different Lexile levels for grades 3 through high school. Students can also take quizzes to test their understanding. These basic features are available for free.
There's also a Pro plan (which has an annual fees of about $18 per student, $2,000 for a grade or $6,000 for a school) that lets teachers to track individual and class-wide progress, assign specific articles, run progress reports and track against Common Core reading and writing standards. More in our Index about the product; here's what users had to say about Newsela.
The company told the Wall Street Journal that Newsela is seeing 20,000 user registrations a day (2,000 teachers and 18,000 students) during the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. With a team of 21 employees, Newsela has now raised $5.6 million, along a $100K grant from the Gates Foundation's Literacy Courseware Challenge.