TCV commits $50 mln in Series C to edtech platform Newsela

Technology Crossover Ventures endorsed tech-powered educational platform Newsela with $50 million in Series C funding, the firm said in a statement.

Newsela is an edtech company, customizing news, speeches and reviews for children of different reading abilities.

TCV first got in touch with the company in 2015 and its goal resonated with the investing team, Dave Eichler, vice president, told Buyouts.

“I grew up reading news and watching my parents read newspapers,” he said. “And the product really resonated with me personally – [it is] enabling students to read the news on their level.”

The company uses freelance writers to source and adapt the content from hundreds of partners, including National Geographic, NASABiography.comEncyclopedia Britannica and the Washington Post. This content is then edited and approved by an internal editorial team.

Newsela’s technology consists of several parts, Eichler said. One part is a tech-creation engine that takes in content from sources. Another is a back-end application enabling educators to create workload based on how students and teachers are engaging with the content, Eichler explained.

Currently, 20 million students and 1.8 million teachers are signed up to the platform and nearly 90 percent of all U.S. schools use the site, the company says. Newsela has also grown its staff 50 percent in the past year.

“When we think about K-12 education, Newsela is really solving a big pain point and making the life of teachers easier by giving them content available on their fingertips,” Eichler said.

TCV invested in the company out of Fund X, which closed on $3 billion in January.

Previously, Newsela raised $4.1 million in a Series A round led by Owl Ventures. James L. Knight Foundation. Individual investors, including some educational publishing and media professionals, also participated in the financing round.

The company also secured $15 million in Series B funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan along with Women’s Venture Capital Fund also contributed to the fundraising, while the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Owl Ventures did follow-ons.

The fresh capital will help Newsela expand its footprint across more schools in the U.S. and scale its customization tool, custom collections, which enables school districts to customize materials to match their curriculum standards.

As part of the transaction, Woody Marshall, a GP at TCV, joined Newsela’s board.

Action Item: Contact TCV at +1 650-614-8200.

Update: The story has been updated with additional product and financial background on Newsela.