Bloomboard’s Professional Development Marketplace Is Now Open, Fueled by...


Bloomboard’s Professional Development Marketplace Is Now Open, Fueled by $7.2M Series B Funding

By Tony Wan     Jun 30, 2015

Bloomboard’s Professional Development Marketplace Is Now Open, Fueled by $7.2M Series B Funding

Professional development (PD) is big business, with an estimated preK-12 market size in the US topping $3 billion. That figure will surely grow as more companies continue to build tools and services to meet the demand for personalized PD.

All this means the dollars are blooming for BloomBoard. The Palo Alto, CA-based startup has closed a fresh $7.2 million Series B round from three of its existing funders—Birchmere Ventures, the Gates Foundation and Learn Capital—along with new investors including the Dell Foundation and Gera Ventures, a firm based in Brazil. This boosts BloomBoard’s total funding to $16 million, following its $5 million Series A round in 2013 and earlier seed funding.

Founded in March 2010, BloomBoard first offered observation and evaluation tools to help teachers and administrators track and record professional development (PD) goals. The product came at a time when many states and districts were creating new PD plans to meet data reporting requirements in order to receive the Department of Education’s Race to the Top funds. So far the company says one million teacher observations have been conducted through its platform.

The company’s latest update is the public launch of the BloomBoard marketplace, which contains several thousand free and paid PD resources from nearly 100 providers, including The Teaching Channel, Stenhouse Publishers and the Buck Institute for Education. Access to these videos, webinars and courses and documents was previously limited to BloomBoard customers, who received content recommendations based on data collected from the company’s observation and evaluation tools.

“We’ve been relatively top-down in terms of our offering,” says Jason Lange, co-founder and CEO of BloomBoard. “Opening the marketplace and is our first step towards being bottom-up.” His next priority is to add ways to let users share and collaborate on the platform. “We want to add mechanisms around social sharing, ratings and reviews to help surface the best resources,” he tells EdSurge. And “we want to give districts better ways to make spending decisions.”

Over 100,000 educators have used the marketplace, and Lange says some of the most sought-after materials focus on Common Core and STEM. (To access the marketplace, make sure to select “I’m a teacher” when prompted at the homepage.) The company also recently shared to its users a list of the most popular free resources, categorized by different grade groups:

Most popular overall (all grade levels)

  1. Its Not Polite to Interrupt, and Other Rules of Classroom Etiquette
  2. Involving Families in School Events
  3. Questioning the Questions

Most popular for K-5

  1. C-V-C: Phonemic Awareness
  2. Integrating Physical Activity into Academic Pursuits
  3. Reality PD | Respond to student understanding

Most popular for grades 6-8

  1. Classroom Management for Secondary Teachers: Take Your Classroom Back
  2. Reality PD | Build a supportive, learning-focused classroom community
  3. Classroom Management for Middle School Teachers

Most popular for grades 9-12

  1. 10 Ways to Teach and Support Struggling Adolescent Readers
  2. Formative Assessment Using the U-P-S Strategy
  3. Inquiry-Based Teaching: Asking Effective Questions

BloomBoard currently counts more than 7,000 schools across over 700 districts in 22 states as customers. Opening the marketplace to teachers will likely drive demand for the tools—and data—provided by the company that help them find relevant content more easily. “We’re trying to use the data that’s collected via observations to create much more personalized opportunities for teachers,” says Lange.

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