Edtech startup KickUp announced a $1.54 million seed round Friday.
The raise was led by Palo Alto-based Reach Capital, with investments from Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Rittenhouse Ventures, D.C.-based Jefferson Education Fund, Arcady Bay Partners, Deborah Quazzo and other angel investors.
In 2014, CEO Jeremy Rogoff — a 28-year-old former high school teacher and Lower Merion native — and cofounder Victoria Kinzig (28, also from Lower Merion) entered the Virginia pre-accelerator program Lighthouse Lab to develop the first prototype of what they wanted to create. The product was launched and had a series of clients, but ran into some difficulty in getting teachers to interact in a peer-to peer collaboration system.
The following year, they went out to California, where they gained access to Imagine K-12, an accelerator that specializes in edtech startups. There, the founders repurposed the product to help school districts, with better results that allowed them to grow their client base.
For both strategic and emotional reasons, in March 2016 the cofounders decided to move the company to Philadelphia.
“We love Philly, we really like the idea of being in a growing tech scene,” Rogoff said. “Philly also allows us to access more educational institutions in a meaningful way, because we have more educational institutions nearby. It makes strategic sense.”
The KickUp platform uses data to help school districts and educational organizations manage professional learning programs and breakdown their impact from an organizational and individual level.
Rogoff said the investment will let the company improve its services. The company serves 52 school districts in California, Alaska, Missouri, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky and Iowa, according to Rogoff.
“We’re focused on meeting teachers, coaches and districts where they are,” he said.
Resources from the round will also let the six-employee company grow its team, hiring eight full-timers to handle engineering, sales and district success.