NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Education technology startup Classcraft announced today it has closed a round of early-stage venture capital funding, securing $2.8 million to scale the platform. Designed to turn the experience of going to school into a role-playing game played over the course of a school year, Classcraft enhances classroom management, augments existing curriculum, and gamifies practices for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) for teachers and administrators.
“We share the excitement of millions of teachers and students around the world who love Classcraft,” said Joe Catalfamo, partner at Whitecap Venture, who will be joining Classcraft’s board of directors. “This platform has already seen early success, and we are proud to help the team to grow its business so the impact of the platform can transform as many classrooms as possible.”
Classcraft’s journey began in 2013 when longtime high school physics teacher Shawn Young sought a new way to help his students succeed. A programmer and avid gamer, he created a basic online role-playing game that he deployed with his own students. The impact of the game dramatically changed the outcomes in his classroom.
“Introducing a role-playing game with real-world risks and rewards revolutionized my classroom,” said Shawn Young, Classcraft co-founder and CEO. “Students were more engaged, they worked harder and were more thoughtful in making decisions in and out of the classroom. Not only were they excelling academically, they were stepping up to help their fellow students as well.”
When Shawn posted online about what he was doing in his classes, the idea went viral, drawing interest from thousands of teachers around the world. Shawn then officially founded Classcraft with his brother Devin, a veteran experience designer and creative director in New York City, to further build out the platform, and with his father, Lauren, an experienced business executive.
Today, Classcraft is used in 75 countries, including over 20,000 schools in the U.S., with more than 2.5 million student users around the world. The platform is backed by scientific research, including a study that revealed that classrooms using Classcraft saw an increase in student achievement of more than 8 percent over the course of a school year.
“Our mission with Classcraft is to reimagine the classroom with collaborative play at the center of the experience,” said Devin Young, Classcraft co-founder and president. “We’re extremely proud of the impact this approach has had with students, particularly around Social Emotional Learning. With this round of funding, our focus now is to build an even richer gaming ecosystem through partnerships and self-paced, personalized learning. We’re very excited about what’s to come!”
The company is lauded as an innovator in the education market, with the National School Boards Association naming Classcraft a Technology Innovation Showcase winner in 2015, the same year Common Sense Education named the platform a Top Pick. EdTech Digest also named Classcraft a Cool Tool winner in the Academic Gaming Solution category in 2016 and 2017. Classcraft is a certified Google Cloud Technology Partner and is fully integrated with Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams.
“With districts and states putting greater emphasis on Social and Emotional Learning, Classcraft becomes even more needed,” said Jennie Magiera, chief program officer at EdTechTeam and former chief innovation officer at School District 62 in Des Plaines, Illinois. “Students are making better decisions in and out of class, supporting their peers and taking more pride in their work, because Classcraft creates a classroom culture and environment that empowers each student and gives them agency to become better versions of themselves.”
Classcraft is a Quebec- and New York City-based education technology company whose mission is to transform the learning experience using game mechanics to engage and motivate students. Classcraft’s designed learning experience is used in 75 countries, including 20,000 schools in the U.S., reaching more than 2.5 million student users around the world.
About Whitecap Venture Partners
Whitecap Venture Partners is a $100-million Toronto-based early-stage venture capital fund investing in high-growth companies across three verticals: Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Med Tech and Food Tech. Our team of operators and investment professionals have partnered for over 25 years with entrepreneurs in verticals where they have deep domain expertise and can bring significant operational and strategic value to companies. Additional information is available at www.whitecapvp.com.
About Brightspark Ventures
Brightspark is one of Canada’s top performing Venture Capital firms, investing in exceptional entrepreneurs and returning unprecedented returns to investors since 1999. They are leading an evolution in venture capital, enabling individuals to invest in top-tier early-stage Canadian tech companies with complete venture capital discipline.
About MaRS Catalyst Fund
MaRS Catalyst Fund provides funding and support to Canadian companies pursuing social and environmental outcomes with business models that scale. The Fund supports passionate entrepreneurs leveraging the tools of modern technology to address society’s biggest challenges in delivering better health outcomes, a more sustainable planet and happier people through innovative education and work sustainability. After seeing a lack of impact investment opportunities in Canada, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Unite seeded the MaRS Catalyst Fund and investors including some of Canada’s largest foundations and other private investors. The Fund is managed by an experienced venture capital team at MaRS. For more information, please visit www.marscatalystfund.com.