A local education technology startup has just raised $500,000 and it’s not from angel investors, VCs or friends and family. The money comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
ApprenNet, a company that’s rethinking legal education and that demoed at last month’s EdTech Meetup, has received two NSF grants in the past, but this is the NSF’s biggest investment so far, according to the press release. The funding comes from the NSF’s Small Business Innovation Research program.
The startup, which provides a platform for law students to learn practical skills through video, student interaction and expert input from attorneys, will use the funds to build a massive open online course on mergers and acquisitions, says vice president of curriculum Emily Foote.
It will be the first of its kind for legal education, Foote says. The course will prepare law students for the Regional LawMeets [pdf], an annual competition between 72 law schools that ApprenNet will hold in February.
Foote says the funds will also be used to to expand its law curriculum and grow its presence with universities.
The NSF funds are focused on ApprenNet’s legal education initiatives, but Foote says the company is also developing its product for other types of training, like teacher education and restaurant industry work.
The three-person ApprenNet team is based out of Drexel University, where its founder Karl Okamoto teaches, and is hoping to hire two more staffers.