Cambridge-based BetterLesson announced on Tuesday it has raised a $10 million Series B round of financing led by Owl Ventures, with the participation of existing investors Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, New Markets Venture Partners and Reach Capital.
“We’re going to be investing heavily in the product.”
This funding will allow the company to scale its virtual coaching program for K-12 teachers. After starting out as an online library where teachers could share and find free lesson plans, the company started offering professional development classes for teachers, which are purchased at the school or district level.
“We’re going to be investing heavily in the product – ensuring that we continue to get better and better at both working with teachers to have the maximum impact and to capture the data around their growth to tell the stories of that growth back to the district,” Alex Grodd, co-founder and CEO of BetterLesson, wrote in an email to BostInno.
Throughout the school year, teachers participating in the program try research-based instructional strategies, measure their impact on student learning and learn what works via cycles of sustained iteration. The teacher and coach meet via video conference every other week.
Currently, BetterLesson Coaching is being used in 55 school districts across the U.S., including the Tennessee Department of Education, the Manassas City School District in Virginia and the elementary school in Groton, New York. In June, the company said it was coaching almost 1,000 teachers thanks to around 15 coaches, by partnering with 48 school districts across 18 states.
San Francisco-based Owl Ventures, which invests only in education technology, recently took part in several other local rounds of funding, as a participant in Panorama Education’s $16 million Series B in early November and as the primary backer of Tinkergarten’s $5.4 million Series A in August.
As part of the Series B round, Tory Patterson, co-founder and managing partner of Owl Ventures, will join the board of directors of BetterLesson. General Partner at Reach Capital Jennifer Carolan will retain her seat.
“The research is very clear – 1:1 teacher coaching is the best way to improve teacher practice,” Patterson said in a statement. “BetterLesson delivers the highest-quality 1:1 instructional coaching in the country. They have built the platform that can flexibly scale world-class coaches to meet the urgent needs of teachers, schools, and districts.”
In 2011, the company raised $1.6 million in funding from Highland Capital Partners, General Catalyst, New Markets Ventures and NewSchools Venture Fund. The following year, the company was awarded a $3.5 million grant from the Gates Foundation.
There are about 50 current employees at BetterLesson. The company seeks to hire approximately 12 employees in the next year to focus on sales, marketing and product development, Grodd wrote.