Panorama Education Gets $16M for “Social-Emotional Learning” Tools

Panorama Education announced Tuesday that it raised $16 million from several high-profile tech investors to accelerate the adoption of its software tools aimed at boosting K-12 students’ social and emotional skills and college readiness.

The Series B funding round was led by Emerson Collective, whose founder and president is Laurene Powell Jobs, the billionaire entrepreneur and widow of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Other contributors to the investment included Spark Capital, Owl Ventures, SoftTechVC, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.

The new investment doubles Panorama’s total venture capital haul to about $32 million. Its other backers include Y Combinator and GV, the venture arm of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

Founded in 2012, Panorama says its software products are used by 400 school systems nationwide, and it has helped support more than 5 million students so far. Schools use the company’s surveys to collect feedback from students and teachers. That includes gathering data about students’ social awareness, self-management, “growth mindset,” and other “social-emotional learning” indicators, the company says. Teachers, counselors, and administrators use that information to craft strategies for developing students’ skills and improving the culture in schools. Recommendations and other resources come from Panorama’s network of experienced teachers, curriculum providers, and other organizations.

Panorama also offers a tool that combines the social-emotional learning data with information about students’ grades, attendance, and behavior, in order to help with things like tracking whether they are on track to graduate, and monitoring whether special services are having a positive effect.

“As a teacher in Newark (NJ) Public Schools, I cared about so much more than test scores, grades, and attendance because I knew that my students’ mindsets, emotional well-being, and feelings about school were key factors to their success,” said Ross Jensen, who led Emerson Collective’s investment in Panorama, in a prepared statement. “But without a way to measure growth, I had real blind spots around these areas. Panorama’s tools would have been incredibly valuable to me as a teacher, and it’s so exciting that this team is now poised to bring these tools to millions more teachers and students.”

Jensen will join Panorama’s board.

Panorama currently employs 80 people, including engineers, designers, researchers, and former educators. The new funding will be used, in part, to hire a vice president of product and more engineers, according to a press release.

[Pictured above are Panorama co-founders Aaron Feuer (left) and Xan Tanner. Photo courtesy of Panorama.]

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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