Edtech Startup Credly Raises $2.5M Seed Round From VCs, Lumina Foundation

Credly, a New York edtech company that manages digital credentials for learned skills, said today it raised $2.5 million in a seed financing round led by venture firms University Ventures and New Markets Venture Partners.

Credly allows universities, employers, licensing agencies, and other organizations to create electronic badges that represent anything from an earned college degree to a specific job skill acquired, such as mastery of an office spreadsheet program. People who earn the badges can display them on their LinkedIn profiles, Facebook, and other sites checked by employers.

Other investors in Credly’s seed round include the venture arm of the Indianapolis, IN-based Lumina Foundation, a non-profit that aims to increase the percentage of Americans with degrees or other credentials showcasing the skills they’ve learned beyond high school. Credly was the first company to receive a direct investment from the Lumina Foundation Venture Fund.

Lumina had an endowment of more than $1.2 billion at the end of 2014, according to the latest financial statement posted on its website. The foundation formerly made grants directly to schools such as Indiana University for college retention programs and other higher education initiatives. But in recent years it has focused on its primary mission, called Goal 2025. The foundation wants 60 percent of Americans to have post-secondary education credentials in about 10 years. That could mean either college degrees, or alternative credentials recognized by employers.

Also joining in Credly’s seed round were Lion Brothers, which makes fabric emblems and patches for sports teams and other brand-name clients; and the venture arm of London-based City & Guilds Group, a global workplace training services provider.

Bernadette Tansey is Xconomy's San Francisco Editor. You can reach her at btansey@xconomy.com. Follow @Tansey_Xconomy

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