Nashville-based LiveSchool Inc. has raised $1.65 million for development and marketing of its app to track student behavior at school. Investors include Nashville Capital Network and its affiliated Tennessee Angel Fund; Solidus Company; Rick Theobald, former COO at KIPP Nashville; and Steve Butler, former board member at STEM Prep Academy in Nashville.
LiveSchool Inc. has raised $1.65 million to expand development and marketing of its real-time behavior tracking application already used by 45 schools in 15 states.
“The research is in,” said LiveSchool CEO Matt Rubinstein . “When student behavior improves, scores go up. Schools across the country are looking for tools to help track and improve behavior.”
Both the problem and LiveSchool’s solution caught the attention of Nashville Capital Network (NCN) and its affiliated Tennessee Angel Fund.
“The beauty of this product is that it is incredibly simple but it has a tremendous impact on classroom management,” said Chase Perry , director of NCN, a network of Middle Tennessee angel investors. “We interviewed teachers and administrators who use LiveSchool and most of them had tried other methods for solving this problem.”
“Repeatedly, they told us that LiveSchool saves them time and is easy to use,” Perry said.
Rubinstein, who taught at KIPP Academy Nashville, tapped early programming experience to build LiveSchool’s prototype.
KIPP is one of 9 Nashville schools already using LiveSchool. The Achievement School District, a nationally recognized initiative dedicated to turning around Tennessee’s lowest-performing schools, is another prominent client. In the last eight months, use of LiveSchool behavior tracking software has surged, from 3 to 45 schools.
“Our group was impressed by the customer traction the company has achieved in a short period of time with very little capital,” Perry said.
Other major investors include Solidus Company; Rick Theobald , former COO at KIPP Nashville; and Steve Butler , technology executive and a former board member at STEM Prep Academy in Nashville.
The funding allows LiveSchool, part of Nashville’s vibrant and nationally recognized tech startup community, to expand features and scale the app for wider use in a huge market. Improving student behavior already is front-and-center at more than 60,000 Title I, charter and magnet schools.
On average, LiveSchool saves each teacher at least two hours of data entry from their weekly routine.
“Teachers want to teach,” Rubinstein said. “LiveSchool gives them tools shown to reduce behavioral issues and increase instructional time.”
For students, LiveSchool means school is more predictable, fair, and fun. Students earn points or “behavior bucks” for good behavior to redeem for field trips and other incentives, a proven approach to improving school behavior supported by educational research. The app introduces and builds financial literacy as students manage their accounts and make choices about when and how to spend their earnings.
“We are the first real-time platform helping schools improve behavior,” Rubinstein said. “The impact is going to be huge.”
In addition to behavior, LiveSchool offers tools for teachers to track attendance, assignments, and real-time hallway passes using desktops, laptops and tablets.