AltSchool, an elementary school initiative by former Googler and Aardvark founder Max Ventilla, has announced that they have raised an additional $100 million during the Series B venture round on top of last year’s $33 million Series A round.
AltSchool has among its leading investors Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to offer personalized tech-driven education to US students.
The additional $100 million was raised by venture capital firms Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz and Zuckerberg. The latter has made his contribution through a donor-advised fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, according to Fast Company’s Ainsley O’Connell.
AltSchool, which uses proprietary software, offers students and teachers a more customized way for students to interact and learn. At the moment, several hundred students are using AltSchool Ed Tech in the classroom and more classes in California and Brooklyn are giving the AltSchool tech a try this fall. AltSchool wants to reimagine US education and adopt it to each student’s unique needs, capacities and goals:
“School doesn’t have to be one-size-fits-all anymore; we can personalize academics for each student based on their unique learning style, interests and skill level. Schools can adapt and grow in real time to keep pace with accelerating changes in the outside world. Finally, teachers can regain their autonomy in the classroom.”
Andreessen partner Lars Dalgaard expressed his optimism over the potential of AltSchool to transform education:
“It happens to be a great software investment that also will transform education as we know it. . . . We need to be teaching kids how to ask questions, not just to answer them. AltSchool can make education much more dynamic.”
Max Ventilla, CEO of AltSchool, says his vision is going where no other strategy, technology or pedagogy has gone before:
“We haven’t had a new model in education for some time. Montessori schools are progressive, but that’s an idea that’s over 100 years old and there’s no real role for technology in it. We think you can have intensely personalized learning aided by tech while preserving the benefits of one-on-one interactions.”
Ventilla says the raised money will be invested in an intuitive way:
“We will use this new funding to further explore the best practices in teaching, with a goal to create a platform that’s available to all. Why are teachers still creating lesson plans from scratch? Why are they reinventing the wheel?”
Laurene Powell Jobs of the Emerson Collective, First Round Capital, Harrison Metal, John Doerr, Jonathan Sackler, Learn Capital, Adrian Aoun and Omidyar Network are some of AltSchool’s backers.