San Francisco-based Gobstopper, an interactive digital reading platform for teachers and their students, has secured US$1.8 million in seed-stage financing. The round was led by Canadian venture capital firm Relay Ventures, which was joined by Reed Hastings and New Schools Venture Fund, Kapor Capital, Sand Hill Angels, and Garnett Ventures. The company will use investment proceeds to accelerate new product and app development. In connection with the deal, Kevin Talbot, Relay’s co-founder and managing partner, joined the Gobstopper board of directors.
Gobstopper Raises $1.8M Seed Round
Financing led by Relay Ventures to fuel user growth and product development for education market digital reading platform
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, Oct 08, 2013 (Marketwired via COMTEX) — Gobstopper, an interactive, instruction-rich digital reading platform for teachers and their students, today announced that it has received $1.8M in seed funding. The funding round was led by Relay Ventures, with participation from a number of investors, including Reed Hastings and New Schools Venture Fund, Kapor Capital, Sand Hill Angels, and Garnett Ventures. Gobstopper will use the funding to accelerate new product and app development. As part of the funding, Kevin Talbot, co-founder and Managing Partner of Relay Ventures, will be joining the Gobstopper board of directors.
“There is a tremendous opportunity for mobile to transform just about every industry, and education is no exception,” says Talbot. “Educators already view technology as an important driver of classroom learning, and mobile now has the potential to drive even greater transformational change in how the next generation of students learn, and in the case of Gobstopper, how they read.”
Gobstopper reinvents the way that educators teach a wide range of texts – such as works of fiction or non-fiction, news articles, and primary resources – as well as how they assess reading comprehension and engagement. Teachers insert interactive layers of instruction directly into the content that they’ve loaded into Gobstopper, allowing students to learn in an integrated and interactive way on a smartphone, tablet or any other browser-enabled device. Whether a student is reading a book, solving a math problem or preparing for a lab experiment, they are supported by their teacher’s embedded miniature units of curriculum – called “curriculets” – as they move from one page to the next. Gobstopper is free for all teachers and students. It is available for any browser-enabled device, includes access to hundreds of free public domain titles, and has many curriculets pre-loaded and available for use.
Gobstopper also powers easy and instant sharing of interactive curriculum among teachers, further accelerating their natural tendency to collaborate. A teacher can create their own curriculet and share it via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest in just one click (an example of a Romeo and Juliet curriculet can be found online: http://crrc.lt/14gl5px). Other teachers can easily leverage that curriculet and teach it immediately. Since its recent launch, Gobstopper is being used by teachers in over 2,200 schools.
“Gobstopper increases student engagement by making reading interactive and fun. At the same time, it enables teachers to easily create and share curriculum, use tech in their classroom, and facilitates a deeper, closer reading of each assignment,” says Jason Singer, founder and CEO of Gobstopper. “Our innovative, shareable curriculets replace mundane tasks like photocopying with the time and tools teachers need to increase student mastery of Common Core standards.” Singer is a veteran teacher, principal, and founder of two high performing KIPP charter schools.
How Gobstopper Works
The Gobstopper digital reading platform enables teachers to place questions, explanations, quizzes and rich media directly into reading materials so that students encounter those checkpoints at a relevant moment for learning. Some of the core benefits of using Gobstopper include:
– Confirmed reading comprehension and engagement: Students truly learn the content as they go, and any roadblocks are identified in the moment rather than at the completion of a book, or at exam time.
– Anytime, anywhere reading: Students can start a book in class on a laptop, read more on their mobile device on the bus ride, and finish up on the family computer at home. Every time a student logs back into a book or other content, Gobstopper takes them to the exact page they were on.
– No more paper worksheets: Gobstopper replaces the inefficient processes that teachers use to craft, print and distribute paper worksheets, which often requires spending valuable personal time reviewing and evaluating their students’ understanding of the content.
– Instant analytics on progress against Common Core standards: Gobstopper automatically calculates data on student reading time and content comprehension, and presents it in a classroom dashboard that displays student progress toward mastery of Common Core State Standards. This enables teachers to tailor the next day’s lesson to the exact needs of their class.
– Instant and easy collaboration for teachers: Teachers love to collaborate on curriculum and best practices, and Gobstopper makes it fun and fast to share within the product, via email or across social networks.
We believe that every moment of learning begins with reading, that teaching is a craft, and that the most effective curricula begin with the inspired work of great teachers and are perfected through peer collaboration. So Gobstopper is revolutionizing the way kids read and how teachers create, share, and teach with a simple yet dynamic digital reading platform. Gobstopper keeps students and teachers connected inside any content they are reading – a non-fiction book, a word problem, or a news article. Gobstopper also enables teachers to deliver customized, Common Core aligned learning and digitally create and share their curriculum and lesson materials. The company is headquartered in San Francisco. Learn more at www.gobstopper.com.
About Relay Ventures
Relay Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm that invests in passionate entrepreneurs disrupting and creating new markets through mobile technologies. Unlike other funds, Relay exclusively focuses on software for mobile devices and the connected Internet, creating an unparalleled set of networks and resources that tangibly help founders build world-class companies. With offices in Menlo Park and Toronto, the firm is active throughout North America. For additional information, visit www.relayventures.com.
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