Class, an edtech startup that integrates exclusively with Zoom to make distance education more elegant, has raised $ 12.25 million in new funding. The round brings Salesforce Ventures, Sound Ventures and Super Bowl champion Tom Brady to his capital table.
CEO and founder Michael Chasen said Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff approached the company to invest in Class. Salesforce Ventures launched a $ 100 million impact fund in October 2020, a month after Class launched, to support electronics tech companies and cloud businesses with an impact lens.
As for Tom Brady entering the world of edtech, Chasen said the famous footballer has made investments in technology in the past and, “as a father of three, he is passionate about helping people through education.
“Tom Brady and I are both fathers of three, and like all parents, we need to add teaching and learning tools to Zoom,” Chasen added.
The class has now raised $ 58 million in less than a year, with a $ 30 million Series A in February 2021 and a $ 16 million seed round in September 2020. Today’s rise is lower than the Series A, indicating that it was probably more strategic in attracting investors than out of necessity.
The money will be used to help deploy the classroom to primary and secondary schools around the world. The startup’s software was released publicly on Mac a few months ago and will be phasing out beta for Windows, iPhone, Android, and Chromebook in the coming weeks, Chasen said. The wider public launch will help scale the approximately 7,500 schools that have expressed interest in adopting Class.
The big hurdle for Class, and for any startup selling e-learning solutions to institutions, is post-pandemic utility. While institutions have traditionally been slow to adopt software due to red tape, Chasen says Class’s two clients, students in higher education and K-12, actively budget for these tools. . The price of the class varies between $ 10,000 and $ 65,000 per year, depending on the number of students in the classes.
“We haven’t had a budget problem at a single school,” Chasen said in February. “Higher education has already taken that step to online learning, and they’re now taking the next step, while K-12 is the first step they take.” So far, Class has over 125 paying customers with an even split between K-12 and above, and 10% of customers use it for corporate teams.
It’s not the only startup trying to reinvent Zoom University. A number of companies are trying to serve the same market of students and teachers tired of today’s video conferencing solutions which – at best – often look like a gallery view with a chat bar. Three companies that are gaining ground are Engageli, Top Hat and InSpace.
While every startup has its own strategy and product, the founders behind them all need to answer the same question: can they make digital learning a preferred mode of pedagogy and understanding – and not just a backup – afterwards the end of the pandemic?
As this question continues to be explored, today’s news shows that Class has no problem recruiting people to believe the answer is yes. In just nine months, the company has grown from two to over 150 employees and contractors.