Nearpod, A Pioneer of VR in Edtech, Raises $21M

Nearpod, an educational technology company that added low-cost virtual reality headsets to its offerings early last year, raised $21 million in a Series B round announced today.

The new round, led by New York-based Insight Venture Partners, brings total fundraising to $30.2 million for Nearpod, which made a bet that K-12 students would be captivated by a bare-bones 3D experience provided by virtual reality viewers similar to Google Cardboard.

More than four million students took Nearpod’s “virtual field trips” to places such as Mars and the Roman Coliseum in 2016, the company says. The most popular lesson among fifth to seventh grade classes was “Explore the Oceans.”

The company, founded in 2012, has used virtual reality to augment its core business—-providing ready-made lesson plans as well as helping teachers to create their own lessons enhanced by digital technology.

Nearpod, based in Aventura, FL with offices in San Francisco, offers students free access to its virtual reality content on any device, including tablets and smartphones with or without a simple cardboard VR viewer. The company also sells premium services to hundreds of schools and school districts.

With its new money, and the guidance of Insight Venture Partners, the company plans to scale up. Insight is gaining three positions on Nearpod’s board of directors. Brad Twohig, Peter Segall and Nikitas Koutoupes are joining Nearpod’s co-founders, Guido Kovalskys and Felipe Sommer on the board, along with current board member Jennifer Carolan of Reach Capital. Existing investors Reach Capital, GSV Acceleration, Krillion Ventures and AGP Miami participated in the Series B fundraising round.

Nearpod’s early investors also included Storm Ventures; the Stanford StartX Fund; the Knight Enterprise Fund; Arsenal Ventures; Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff; Intuit founder Scott Cook and his wife, Signe Ostby.

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