Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and venture capitalist John Doerr are among the backers pumping $11 million into DreamBox Learning, the Bellevue online education company that creates tailored lesson plans for elementary school kids. Other investors in the round include GSV Capital and current investor Deborah Quazzo.
“DreamBox Learning has cracked the code on improving early educational outcomes for every child – regardless of zip code,” said Doerr, a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. “Their robust math curriculum and adaptive learning technology is a game-changer, transforming education across the country.”
Founded in 2006 by former Microsoft executive Ben Slivka and former UI Evolution president Lou Gray, DreamBox was acquired last year through an investment by Hastings and the non-profit Charter School Growth Fund.
Since fall 2010, the company said that nearly 500,000 elementary students have logged onto DreamBox Learning to view more than 11 million lessons. A recent independent study by SRI International found that test scores improved by 5.5 percent for those kids who used DreamBox Learning Math for 16 weeks.
The math product, targeted at kids in kindergarten through third grade, provides game-like educational activities and offers thousands of different paths depending upon the needs of each individual student.
“This nimble technology ‘learns the learner’ as the student engages with the curriculum to deliver the most individualized learning experience in the market today,” said CEO Woolley-Wilson, who joined the company last year.
Earlier this year, Hastings handed over the chairman title at the company to CEO Jessie Woolley-Wilson. It also added Greg Long as Senior Vice President of Product Development and Patti Smith as Vice President of Marketing and Product Management.
DreamBox, which employs 47 people, has raised $28.1 million to date, including a prior $10 million R&D investment from Hastings and the Charter School Growth Fund.
Here’s a closer look at how DreamBox works.