Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, venture capitalist John Doerr and two undisclosed Seattle education philanthropists are investing $14.5 million in DreamBox Learning, a Bellevue company that’s pioneered a new interactive and adaptive educational system for teaching kids math. In addition, GSV Capital has tripled its investment in the 7-year-old company.
“DreamBox Learning’s adaptive technology is fueling the blended learning movement in classrooms nationwide to help millions of students thrive in mathematics,” said Hastings in a release “The company’s highly talented and committed team has achieved this objective at a record pace through strong partnerships with principals, teachers and parents who recognize that this innovative online learning technology is a game changer and has the ability to catapult student progression for every child at every learning level.”
The new cash will be used to invest in product development and business operations, with the company planning to expand its PreK-5 math product to middle schoolers. The company’s math product is available on PCs and the iPad, with DreamBox serving two million lessons per week in schools in all 50 states.
Jessie Woolley-Wilson, President and CEO of DreamBox Learning, noted that it is a “wake-up call” that U.S. students have slipped to a 26th ranking in math.
“The ability to deliver differentiated instruction to each individual student throughout an entire district is no longer a luxury, but a necessity if we want to advance our students’ academic standing and remain competitive in the global economy,” Woolley-Wilson said.
Hastings invested in the company through his non-profit Charter School Growth Fund, following an $11 million round that he led in 2011. Total funding now stands at $25.5 million.
DreamBox was founded in 2006 by former Microsoft executive Ben Slivka and former UI Evolution president Lou Gray. It employs 82 people.