LearnZillion snaps up $13 mln

LearnZillion, an open cloud-based curriculum solution provider, has secured $13 million in funding. The investors included DCM Ventures and Owl Ventures.


WASHINGTON – Today, LearnZillion announced it has received a new investment of $13 million from 13 investors – including DCM Ventures and Owl Ventures – to grow its free cloud-based curricular software that is already being used by one in four K-12 teachers nationally. The site already offers Common Core-aligned math and English curriculum authored by educators currently teaching in classrooms across the U.S. With this investment, LearnZillion will grow its curriculum offerings, providing an innovative, digital alternative to traditional textbooks.

“We are extremely excited and grateful for the support we’ve received from our investors, as well as our growing community of teachers,” says Eric Westendorf, co-founder and CEO of LearnZillion. “As a company, our goal has always been to offer teachers in district, charter or private schools a better way to meet the needs of their students while building their own capacity. The days of expensive, quickly out-of-date textbooks are numbered. This investment shows we are on the right track and empowers us to go further.”

Founded in 2011 after winning a Next Generation Learning Challenges grant, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, LearnZillion was inspired by Westendorf’s tenure as the principal at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. LearnZillion’s curricula is authored by a Dream Team of more than 200 practicing teachers and curriculum experts from various district, public charter and private K-12 institutions in 42 states. Over the last five years, with additional financial support from investors – including NewSchools Venture Fund and Emerson Investment Management – the software has experienced steady growth.
Today, a quarter of the nation’s teachers – representing 15,000 schools and 2,000 districts in all 50 states – use LearnZillion’s curriculum and software to support the development of student instruction. LearnZillion welcomes more than 1 million unique monthly visitors.

“As an investor in many companies using technology to disrupt the status quo, I am impressed by LearnZillion’s approach to bringing teachers in different communities together to create a comprehensive curriculum that is available to all,” says DCM Ventures general partner Peter Moran. “LearnZillion is breaking through barriers that have kept teachers in silos for far too long. I am excited to work with Eric and his team as they scale their impact on millions of educators around the world.”
LearnZillion’s work to offer new and innovative software that provides open, core curriculum authored by teachers also piqued the interest of new investors including Owl Ventures and Omidyar Network.

“The traditional textbook model used in classrooms places limitations on teachers. LearnZillion provides educators with an alternative that allows them to apply innovation to instruction, student assessment and professional development,” said Tory Patterson, Owl Ventures co-founder and partner. “New technological advancements are allowing us to be more efficient and effective in most aspects of our daily lives. This ingenuity has the potential to dramatically improve school systems and the way we educate our children. LearnZillion is pioneering a new approach to supporting teachers and districts that has never before been available.”

Nicholas Pyzik, an Elementary Math Intervention teacher at Tuscarora Elementary School in Frederick, Maryland, is among the 900,000 teachers using LearnZillion’s software. A member of the LearnZillion teacher community since 2011, and part of the 2014 and 2015 Dream Team of teacher-content creators, Nicholas collaborated with LearnZillion peers to author the LearnZillion’s new K-8 math curriculum.

“Since using LearnZillion lessons I have seen tremendous engagement from my students. The content and material that LearnZillion provides is rigorous but allows entry points for all learners. The conceptual approach allows students to build an understanding of math concepts that I have not seen with other mathematics materials,” said Nicholas Pyzik.

“Being a part of the LearnZillion Dream Team has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my teaching career. Being able to collaborate and work alongside such other passionate educators has inspired me to approach teaching many different ways to get the most out of my students,” Pyzik added. “Working with LearnZillion and the Dream

Team community has inspired me to scale my impact. I am building a curriculum that is literally touching millions of student lives.”
Read more here about the rise of open curriculum and about LearnZillion’s approach to building an open curriculum by tapping into the expertise of top teachers around the U.S.

About LearnZillion:
LearnZillion is the world’s first open, cloud-based curriculum solution. Authored by the nation’s top teachers and used by more than 900,000 teachers in all 50 states, LearnZillion helps teachers, schools, and districts improve instruction and respond to the specific needs of their students.