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AltSchool Raises $100 Million in Funding from Zuckerberg, tech investors

03.13.15_technewsrprt_img_stories_regina-timothy_lyft

AltSchool, a 2-year-old software-fueled elementary school initiative started by ex-Googler and Aardvark founder Max Ventilla, announced Monday a $100 million Series B round led by a mix of established venture capital firms and powerful social-good investors. To date, AltSchool’s has raised $133 million.

Besides substantial investments in the round by Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan’s Silicon Valley Community Foundation as well as Jobs’ social justice-focused Emerson Collective, round leaders also include Series A investors Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz.

AltSchool uses proprietary software that provides students with a personalized “playlist” lesson that teachers can keep close tabs on. Currently, a few hundred students in four Bay Area classrooms use AltSchool tech, and three more California classrooms are expected to come online this fall, plus one in Brooklyn.

“It’s atypical to raise this much this quickly, but it will allow us to be aspirational,” Ventilla tells USA TODAY. “The fact that we’ve got a mix of traditional investors and not-for-profits means we’re blurring the lines. Everyone has the same vision, that it’s good to have well-capitalized companies going after problems in large spaces.”

“We will use this new funding to further explore the best practices in teaching, with a goal to create a platform that’s available to all. Why are teachers still creating lesson plans from scratch? Why are they reinventing the wheel?” Ventilla asks.

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