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Driving Edtech Industry Growth, LearnLaunch Adds Seasoned Investment Staff; Announces Five New Companies to Accelerator Breakthrough Program.

Three New Venture Partners Join Accelerator Investment Committee, Signaling Strong Market Activity and Interest

LearnLaunch Accelerator, the leading education technology startup program, today announced the first cohort of its second Fund, LearnLaunch Accelerator II, as well as the expansion of its investment staff. Five early-stage education technology companies will participate in LearnLaunch’s Breakthrough program beginning on January 9th. Companies receive up to $120k in financing as well as an intensive two-month personalized curriculum designed to stimulate company growth and assist in raising capital.

The five companies that service the K-12, higher education, early education, and continuing education markets are:

  • CareAcademy provides evidence-based online classes for non-medical professional and family caregivers with a goal of excellent customer service.
  • CourseStorm provides simple online registration and marketing software for education providers to publish their class catalog online, process registrations, and spread the word about their offerings.
  • Kaymbu is the leading visual messaging and classroom documentation platform for early childhood education.
  • Quality Interactions provides cultural competency training for healthcare organization and learning solutions that incorporate real-life scenarios and a research-based approach to cross-cultural communication.
  • WriteSteps a K-5 grammar and writing curriculum, helps teachers create capable and confident writers through its digital lesson plans and blended learning platform.

“We’re excited to leverage our second Accelerator Fund with the second iteration of our Breakthrough program, bringing more mature companies into the edtech ecosystem that we’re building,” said Liam Pisano, LearnLaunch Managing Director. “Working with companies closer to Series A financing allows us to add to our investment staff with proven industry operators and investors bringing a wealth of big and small company experience to our company-building process.”

With the organization’s growth and success, three new Venture Partners will be joining the LearnLaunch team to work with portfolio companies and sit on the Accelerator Investment Committee.

  • Tetyana Astashkina: Formerly, Tetyana worked in Switzerland with b-to-v Partners – an early stage VC firm backed by Europe’s largest network of angel investors. Tetyana’s investments covered a broad spectrum of areas from consumer internet to clean technologies.  She graduated with distinctions from the Ivan Franko University (Ukraine) with B.A and M.A in International Relations and earned a Master of European Studies degree from the European University Viadrina (Germany).
  • Eric Cantor: Eric is a seasoned CEO and board member with more than 35 years of experience creating value for investors. He is currently the CEO of New Mountain Learning (NML), a diversified blended learning solutions company serving select segments of the secondary, post-secondary, and career readiness markets. He has a background in education, training, consulting & information services with small / medium cap private equity-owned companies and large diversified public corporations. Eric received a BA in history from Haverford College and an MBA in marketing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Steve Shapiro: Steve brings more than 25 years of entrepreneurial experience to his role as Chief Executive Officer of Academic Merit. Steve has launched four successful start-ups, ranging from K-12 intervention in urban school districts, tutoring and test prep, adult workforce development and international student exchange. Steve currently guides Academic Merit’s overall strategy and has successfully helped the company pivot to engage a number of nationally recognized partners. Steve has both a BS and MBA from Cornell University and is currently on sabbatical from the M.Ed and Ed.D program at UMass Boston.

“Like the edtech marketplace itself, LearnLaunch is growing and innovating, now working on both supply and demand,” said Jean Hammond, co-founder of LearnLaunch. “Bringing great companies, education customers, and insightful investors together is resulting in a healthy economic cluster of sustainable growth.”

LearnLaunch Accelerator’s intensive program provides these edtech startups with seed funding, three months of workspace in the unique and collaborative LearnLaunch Campus located at the heart of Boston’s Innovation District, strategic guidance on bringing their products to market, and access to a diverse team of more than 100 industry-savvy expert mentors providing continual support. These companies will emerge from the Accelerator program ready for next stages of funding, deployment, scale and growth.

These five new Breakthrough companies will be showcased at LearnLaunch’s 5th Annual Across Boundaries Conference on February 3rd, 2017 at the Hynes Convention Center, which is expected to draw more than 1,000 attendees