Panorama Education, a Boston-based startup promoting a data-driven approach to the overall assessment of students, raised $16 million in a Series B round led by Emerson Collective, with participation from Spark Capital, Owl Ventures, SoftTechVC and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
As part of the announcement, Ross Jensen, who led Emerson Collective’s investment in Panorama Education, will join Panorama’s board of directors.
In an interview with BostInno, CEO and co-founder of Panorama Education Aaron Feuer said that the Series B round will be used primarily to invest in three areas of the business.
The first one is product development. The core business of Panorama Education is providing elementary, middle and high schools with questionnaires for both teachers and students. The main goal of these questionnaires is assessing the overall growth of students by tracking and taking into account their social skills, emotional development and family engagement.
“Our focus has been helping school districts take a more holistic view at growing and developing a child.”
“Our focus has been helping school districts take a more holistic view at growing and developing a child,” Feuer said.
Questionnaires can ask prompts such as “When you think about your intelligence, how much do you think you can improve?”, or how many times the student tries to solve a math exercise before giving up. By gathering these data, in addition to more academic-related results such as test scores, teachers should gain a better understanding of the overall development of students – a “wider view” or a “panorama,” as the company’s name implies.
Currently, questionnaires are administered thanks to an online platform that needs a smooth integration with the online systems that schools have already in place. Part of the funding round will go into data integration, Feuer said.
The second area the company is investing in is the on-site training of school leaders. In addition to questionnaires, the company offers schools paid training sessions regarding a variety of topics relevant to educators, including how to get families more involved. According to Feuer, Panorama has trained 2,000 school leaders to date.
Last but not least, the company will invest in customer acquisition. Specifically, the company will grow the team of employees who travel around the country and meet with school principals to present the offering of Panorama Education.
The company, which has 80 employees and has been based in Boston since fall 2014, said it’s serving 5 million students in 7,000 schools across the United States. The school districts using Panorama’s services include New York City Department of Education, Dallas Independent School District, San Francisco Unified School District and Long Beach Unified School District.
“We want to have every school using Panorama,” Feuer said.