Wisconsin Edtech Startup StudyBlue Raises $1.7M

6/27/14Follow @XconomyWI

[Updated 6/30/14, 3:53 pm. See below.] StudyBlue, a Madison, WI-based edtech startup, has raised $1.7 million from investors, a new SEC filing shows.

StudyBlue said the money comes from return investors Great Oaks Venture Capital, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), and StudyBlue chairman Steve Wallman, a securities analyst with Wallman Investment Counsel in Middleton, WI.

With the new funding round, StudyBlue has raised nearly $17.1 million from outside investors, the company said. [This paragraph was updated with a more precise funding total.]

The company raised $9.3 million in Series A-1 financing last year that represented Wisconsin’s second-largest venture capital raise in 2013. That round was led by Great Oaks, a New York-based fund run by University of Wisconsin-Madison graduates that says it has about 15 Wisconsin investments. WARF also contributed to StudyBlue’s last funding round, TechCrunch reported.

StudyBlue created educational Web and mobile apps that give students access to a shared library of more than 220 million user-created study documents that can be stored and accessed on different devices, including notes, flashcards, and equations that can be complemented with images and audio. The subjects range from chemistry to calculus to Chinese.

Users can also collaborate with fellow students and teachers on the software, which has attracted more than 5.5 million users, the company said. StudyBlue initially focused on college students, but has since expanded to K-12 schools.

“In the past year, StudyBlue has seen phenomenal growth, attracting more than 1 million new users, in part because we now house the largest collection of user-generated content of its kind,” said StudyBlue CEO Becky Splitt in a statement emailed to Xconomy. “This growth signals a need for richer digital learning tools—a need that StudyBlue will continue to meet, and this latest round of capital helps us do that.”

StudyBlue employs a freemium revenue model supported by premium subscriptions and advertising, TechCrunch reported.

The company’s website was launched in 2007 by UW-Madison graduates Chris Klundt and Dave Sargent, according to a 2009 article in student publication The Badger Herald. (The company officially lists its founding year as 2009.) Klundt remains with the company as its head of product.

Splitt previously ran MSN’s international business and was a vice president with Brite Voice Systems.

Jeff Engel is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @XconomyWI

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