Online platform Newsela raises $1.2 Million in seed funding to bring daily news to students
EdTech startup provides teachers a new tool to help master the Common Core reading standards
New York, NY – October 11, 2013 –– Newsela, an online platform to help students master reading and critical thinking, today announced it had raised $1.2 million in seed funding, led by New Schools Venture Fund and Kapor Capital. Newsela will deploy the capital to expand its offering of daily news articles at multiple reading levels and Common Core-aligned quizzes.
Newsela publishes daily news articles from top news sources, each rewritten at five different reading levels from grades 3 through 12. Newsela adapts to each student’s reading ability and interests so they always get just-right content while having the power to stretch themselves. Articles are paired with quizzes aligned to the new Common Core State Standards so teachers can track students’ progress daily. Newsela also provides teachers with insights that are customized to their students and recommends actions they can take to improve specific students’ reading comprehension.
“Teachers know that their kids need to read much more nonfiction in order to be ready for the Common Core and life,” said Newsela founder and CEO Matthew Gross. “But the dull K12 content and cookie-cutter tools that teachers have been given just aren’t cutting it. Reading nonfiction should be enthralling, relevant and personalized, and that’s what Newsela delivers.”
Since launching in June, Newsela’s growth has exploded. Teachers in all 50 states and 61 countries have signed up for Newsela, with more than 400 teachers and 2,000 students joining Newsela every day. Students have answered more than half a million Common Core-aligned quiz questions on topics ranging from China’s growing pains to the latest uses of drone technology.
“Educators’ enthusiasm for Newsela shows that it’s truly helping them tailor instruction to individual students,” said Jennifer Carolan, the managing director of NewSchools Seed Fund. “I also love that Newsela is a channel for all kids, regardless of ability or location to consume high-quality journalism and take part in the important conversations that will shape the world they will grow up in. We’re thrilled to back this passionate team with a big vision.”
Newsela is a winner of a Gates Foundation Literacy Courseware Challenge grant and a graduate of the inaugural cohort of the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator powered by Techstars. Other investors in the seed round, in addition to New Schools and Kapor, include Kaplan Ventures, Silicon Badia, David and Joannie Fischer, Brigette Lau, Zac Zeitlin, Jennifer Coogan and Isaac Taylor, Walter Winshall, and Margaret McKenna and several investors from an earlier financing.