SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Jessica Qiu, Kevin Jackson, Keith Cawley, Jackie Kahle, Dana Gardner

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$1.7+ Mil Total Funding for Ellevation Education, iCreate to Educate, Zulama Announced at LearnLaunch / MIT Sloan.Ed Ed Tech Conference

Ed Tech startups Ellevation Education, iCreate to Educate and Zulama separately announced a combined total of $1.7 Mil in funding rounds, strategic investments and grants at today’s “Across Boundaries: Innovation & The Future of Education” conference co-sponsored by MIT Sloan.Ed and LearnLaunch, a non-profit organization driving the growth of learning and education technology companies and the New England ed tech business cluster. The founding of LearnLaunchX, New England’s first major Ed Tech and digital learning-focused accelerator, was also announced.

Other benchmarks also announced today at the Conference include PrepNow’s first calendar year’s revenues of $1Mil, and Learning Touch’s achievement of 2.5 million downloads of its pre-K mobile learning apps. TestTubeGames announced a National Science Foundation Award, and ConnectEDU disclosed details of a recent $100,000 grant jointly-awarded to the company and CareerVillage by the College Knowledge Challenge, a competitive grant initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Today Ellevation is announcing that it has secured over $1.5M in capital from a terrific group of aligned investors that are passionate about driving change in public education,” said Jordan Meranus, Ellevation, LLC CEO & Co-Founder. Ellevation, a Boston-based software company focused exclusively on English Language Learners and the educators that serve them, was founded by Meranus and Teddy Rice approximately 15 months ago. Over the past year the company has enjoyed considerable success, building a great team, launching its first product, and increasing the total number of district customers to 120 across 14 states.

Among Ellevation's investors are LearnLaunch founder Eileen Rudden, long-time Boston venture capitalist Rick Burnes, entrepreneur and investor Josh Tolkoff, Adam Miller, the founder and CEO of Cornerstone on Demand, and NewSchools Venture Fund's Seed Fund.

iCreate to Educate separately announced a strategic investment in the company by Kaplan Early Learning Group, the terms of which were not disclosed. Its Stop-Action-Movies (SAM) Animation lets students and teachers capture still images from a webcam that can be played back in movie form like a digital flip book. SAM fundamentally evolves the ways that teachers and students can engage with STEM and other learning content, and provides teachers with invaluable new insight into student’s thinking processes and progress in knowledge acquisition, proactively preventing learning “gaps” from becoming achievement barriers. The startup is the recipient of numerous technology, innovation and learning sector awards.

Zulama executives disclosed that the company has raised more than $200,000 to date in its seed round, which opened in December 2012. Zulama’s expert-authored online courses are a magnet for teens, providing access to unique subjects they’re passionate about. Zulama helps students connect, teachers simplify, parents stay involved, and schools reach and exceed achievement objectives.

ConnectEDU and CareerVillage disclosed details of the $100,000 College Knowledge Challenge competitive grant Grand Prize awarded for Career Connect, an app built in partnership by the two companies. The College Knowledge Challenge, a competitive funding initiative for the best Facebook applications for helping students get to and succeed in college, announced 21 winners last week. The Career Connect app was awarded the largest grant available through the initiative, which is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Redpoint Education, College Summit, Facebook and the King Center Charter School. ConnectEDU is a technology company committed to connecting the world’s learners to life’s possibilities through clear education-to-career pathways; CareerVillage is an ed tech venture that creates social games to prepare students for careers.

PrepNow capped its first full calendar year by topping the 1000 student and $1 million in revenue marks. The company is planning aggressive expansion in 2013.

Learning Touch announced that it has achieved the milestone of 2.5 million app downloads and 500K monthly active users for its games that let toddlers and pre-school-aged children learn and explore with games that reveal, reward and teach.

TestTubeGames is pleased to announce that its game, Velocity Raptor, has won an honorable mention in the National Science Foundation's International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. Velocity Raptor introduces players to relativity by allowing them to travel near the speed of light. The game will be featured in the February issue of the journal Science.

Eileen Rudden, Co-Founder of LearnLaunch, summarizes: “Boston and New England have long been a center for learning innovation, and the benchmarks, funding and awards announced today herald a new cycle of innovation that leverages evolving mobility and platforms, and enriches learning at every point in the life-long continuum.”

Supporting Resources:

www.LearnLaunch.org (organization, conference, speaker bios, etc.)
https://www.facebook.com/learnlaunch
https://twitter.com/LearnLaunch
http://blog.learnlaunch.org

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