LightSail Raises $3.5 Million for Tablet-Based Libraries

column | Financing

LightSail Raises $3.5 Million for Tablet-Based Libraries

By Mary Jo Madda (Columnist)     May 6, 2015

LightSail Raises $3.5 Million for Tablet-Based Libraries

English language arts curriculum is a competitive industry in the edtech world, and today, NYC-based literacy tool LightSail announced a $3.5 million round to further its efforts to take that market by storm.

Led by Scott Cook, co-founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Intuit, this round brings LightSail’s total funding to date to $12.2 million. LightSail has robust competition from online literacy curriculum platforms that include the likes of Achieve3000, Actively Learn, Books That Grow, Curriculet, and Newsela.

Since 2012, LightSail has offered students tablet-based libraries of over 80,000 standards-aligned texts representing more than 400 publishers; each is embedded with assessment questions and data on student comprehension. With this funding round, CEO and founder Gideon Stein tells EdSurge that LightSail plans to use the majority of this new funding to expand LightSail's District Partnerships team and marketing activities. As of March 24, LightSail reported 75,000 students in users, and today, LightSail says that number has surpassed 100,000.

“We are pleased to be working with the NYCDOE, LAUSD, Chicago Public Schools, and Denver Public Schools--as well as numerous rural and suburban districts,” Stein begins, “but we know that many districts have yet to hear about LightSail, and we are very excited to change that.”

The LightSail team also plans to spend the next 12 months broadening content available to schools, launching a parent portal to help schools stay engaged with parents, and conducting efficacy trials in an attempt to prove that LightSail can deliver results.

“Because we are dedicated to efficacy and data integrity, we are currently conducting multiple efficacy studies with nationally-recognized research and academic firms, so that we can crystallize – and effectively communicate – the student achievement gains from LightSail use,” says Stein.

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of the piece unintentionally implied a competitive positioning among firms.

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