Clever, the education startup you've never heard of, is everywhere. And it's just raised $10.3 million to expand even more.
Clever announced Tuesday it has raised $10.3 million in a financing round led by Sequoia Capital. The money will be used to hire more employees and manage the company's growth as it evolves its underlying API tech into a digital learning platform for the classroom, according to Clever.
The round also includes individual investors: Y Combinator founder Paul Graham and its president, Sam Altman. Deborah Quazzo of GSV Advisors is also an individual investor.
Clever's software is already in 18,000 K-12 schools in the United States, including nine of the 12 largest school districts. The company's success at selling schools on its technology is three-fold: it's free, it solves the time-suck problem of manual data entry and ultimately it helps developers build better learning apps for schools.
How It Works
School districts today are faced with the huge—and delicate—task of managing students' user accounts, login and password data safely. Clever's APIs creates a bridge of sorts between a district's learning software and its existing student information system (SIS).
Teachers simply enter in each student into a SIS once. Clever's software keeps all the student accounts up-to-date across all of a teacher's programs. The platform automates manual and time consuming tasks such as enrolling and tracking students, which should, in theory, make it easy for schools to start and maintain a variety of learning applications.
In other words, teachers don't have to create a new student account every time they use a learning app to access digital curriculum.
Schools don't pay for the technology, the third-party developers who create the learning apps do. It's a strategy that encouraged schools to adopt the interface.