Clever launched about a year and a half ago to provide a standardized API for K-12 schools that allows them to unlock and share data with outside developers. It’s managed to get 10,000 schools signed up to use its tools since then. Now, according to our sources, the company has raised $10 million in funding led by Sequoia Capital.
The funding comes as Clever is finding ways to make schools more connected and accessible for developers. Most schools today use a variety of legacy Student Information Systems (SIS) as a way to store student data. But many of those systems tend to be outdated or custom-built, meaning that the information held within — which includes class lists, attendance, and grades — can’t be shared or accessed by outside developers.
For developers, that means integrating with individual schools on a one-to-one basis, and that just doesn’t scale. Clever, by contrast, provides a single, universal API that will allow developers and education companies to access all the data that has been locked up in legacy silos and use it in their apps.
To remove any friction in getting its system more widely deployed, Clever offers the API free to schools and districts. Instead, it sells to online learning companies and developers looking to integrate their software with and use data from all the various Student Information Systems. By doing so, it believes that software companies can use the data to build better learning tools and improve the overall quality of education.
That’s a value prop which seems to be resonating with school systems. When we checked in with Clever about a year ago, the company had signed up 2,000 schools to connect with its APIs. That number has ballooned over the past twelve months, with more than 10,000 schools integrated into its system.
And that, in turn, has attracted the attention of investors. A source with knowledge of the situation has confirmed that Sequoia led the company’s most recent round of funding. And Sequoia partner Bryan Schreier, who has taken a keen interest in the ed tech space with investments in companies like Inkling and MindSnacks, will be joining its board of directors.
Clever had previously raised $3 million in seed funding from a prominent list of angels that included SV Angel, Mike Maples of Floodgate, SoftTech VC’s Jeff Clavier, Google Ventures (Kevin Rose), Bessemer Venture Partners, Mitch Kapor, Ben Parr, and Ashton Kutcher. But it also had investment from multiple angels from well-known education companies, including the co-founder of The Princeton Review, 2tor and Noodle John Katzman, Inkling co-founder and CEO Matt MacInnis, Chegg co-founder Aayush Phumbhra, and GSV Advisors CEO Deborah Quazzo.