With investment from Salesforce Ventures and NFL quarterback Tom Brady, D.C. edtech company Class Technologies raised an additional $12.25 million.
Class announced the raise Tuesday, bringing its overall funding to $58 million since its launch in September of 2020. Led by CEO Michael Chasen, who is a cofounder and former CEO of D.C. edtech company Blackboard, the company makes a product which allows teachers to complete tasks like taking attendance, proctor exams and talk one-on-one with students through Zoom. The company earned the top spot on Technical.ly’s RealLIST Startups 2021 in D.C.
Chasen said Brady, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback who is a father of three, and Salesforce were interested in Class to help with virtual learning both during the increased virtual learning in the pandemic, and after students go back to school.
“[If I told you] right now there’s literally hundreds of thousands of teachers and millions of students learning online, yet teachers can’t take attendance, hand out assignments, give tests or quizzes in Zoom, proctor those exams, grade work or talk one-on-one with their fellow students and TAs, you’d say ‘Well, how are they even being successful?’” Chasen said.
Chasen told Technical.ly that Class has already received requests from K-12 schools, universities and even corporate training programs. At present, it has about 125 customers using the product. In February, the company launched a version of the software for Mac and plans to release Windows, iPhone, Android and Chromebook versions in the next few weeks.
Chasen said the funding will mainly be used for hiring purposes. Class Technologies already has 150 employees and contract workers — a number he expects to grow to over 200 by the end of the year. He said this round of funding is primarily to help the company meet the amount of interest it is already seen on the market, but that doesn’t mean hiring is limited to the DMV area.
“Certainly we’re continuing to hire a lot of employees [in D.C.]. That being said, look, we created a virtual company that is selling virtual learning software, so we have employees all across the United States,” Chasen said. “While we’re firmly planted here as our headquarters, we really consider ourselves already a global company.”
Although the pandemic changed the way students learn for the immediate future, schools might also be making post-COVID online learning plans. Chasen thinks the pandemic has sped up the adoption of education technology by anywhere from five to 10 years, and he expects it to have huge positive ramifications in the long run. While many colleges and universities already had online degree options that they will maintain after students return to campus full-time, Chasen anticipates K-12 schools also keeping Class as an option for students (or in case of another pandemic).
“Even though we expect usage of online learning to be decreased a little bit, we think that institution-wise, the majority of schools are still going to keep using this to both move more of their education online, as well as be prepared for the future,” Chasen said.-30-