Microsoft buys classroom video learning startup Flipgrid

In an attempt to gain an edge in the education market, Microsoft Corp.Microsoft has announced the acquisition of Flipgrid, a Minneapolis-based educational software startup.

The technology giant announced the acquisition of the startup behind a video learning platform with more than 20 million users worldwide all over the world, including teachers, students, and parents, from Pre-K all the way up to PhD candidates. Flipgrid’s service allows teachers to create a digital space dedicated to a specific topic where students can post clips in which they share their opinions.

The broad appeal of Flipgrid aligns well with Microsoft’s mission of growing its presence in education. As part of this effort, the technology giant has brought to market specialized productivity tools for students and low-cost laptops geared toward use in classrooms. These budget machines are Microsoft’s answer to Google’s hugely popular Chromebooks.

In the wake of the Flipgrid acquisition, the company plans to make the platform free for educators and refund users who have already bought subscriptions. Joey Taralson, Flipgrid’s vice president of engagement, wrote in a blog post that the service will continue to support Chromebooks and the other devices on which it’s currently available.

In the longer term, Microsoft could potentially even take the step of moving Flipgrid beyond the classroom to the enterprise. The platform’s features may lend themselves well to tasks such as managing employee feedback and team communications.

In its three-year lifespan, Flipgrid had raised a modest $17 million in venture funding.

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