For all the talk of how tech could help improve education, change has been slow. It’s too expensive, too complicated, too much hassle.
How to fix that and simplify things? Meet Clever. This Y Combinator alum isn’t offering any educational programs itself. Instead, it’s offering a platform to simplify the process of schools adopting a wide array of other companies educational technology.
The company is young, but off to a hot start. On Monday, Clever announced it has signed up 2,000 schools. That growth has been impressive enough to allow it to raise a $3 million round of seed funding a host of big Silicon Valley names: SV Angel, Mike Maples, Jeff Clavier, Google Ventures, Bessemer Partners, Mitch Kapor, Ashton Kutcher and
Tyler Bosmeny, Clever’s co-founder and CEO, said the company only has 12 employees currently, and has a long backlog of schools that want to sign up as well as educational tech partners that want to jump onto their platform. Bosmeny said Clever is trying to address that problem of cost and ease that has slowed the embrace of tech in schools.
“We couldn’t believe how difficult it was to roll out new technology in the classroom,” Bosmeny said. “And when they did adopt it, it made it more difficult for teachers, not less. For software to thrive in the classroom, it has to just work. If teachers are upgrading software all day, updating class lists, then they just get frustrated.”
With Clever, students’ information is kept on the platform and can be used by any application teachers or schools decide to turn on. And Clever works with the software partners to adapt their programs to the platform, with an eye toward making everything as easy for teachers to use as possible. Clever is free for schools, and makes money by licensing its software to partners who want access to the schools who have signed up.
“It’s ambitious,” Bosmeny said. “But we really think we can change the dynamic and make it easier for teacher’s to use all this great technology that’s out there.”