Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings and the non-profit venture capital firm Charter Fund have acquired DreamBox Learning for an undisclosed price.
The new owners have agreed to put an additional $10 million investment into the educational game startup. Hastings, who is speaking today at the Education Innovation Summit at Arizona State University, is a well-known education philanthropist. The investment will expedite the company’s expansion strategy, helping it increase its presence in U.S. schools and develop new content across a variety of disciplines.
Bellevue, Wash.-based DreamBox focused on educational online software for kids. The first program was a math program for kindergarten age kids that tracked their learning progress and produced reports for parents. It showed how much progress a child had made through a series of fun tasks that were secretly testing math concepts. That is, the kids didn’t realize they were doing math; they simply thought they were playing online games.
DreamBox raised $7.1 million from angel investors. The company was founded in 2006 and released DreamBox Learning K-2 Math in January, 2009. That was a home-based product and in April, 2009, at the urging of teachers, the company released a classroom version. Earlier this month, the company released K-3 Math, extending the content to third grade lessons. The overall goal is to release online games using the same learning assessment engine. The engine tweaks the program, adjusting for the child’s progress and making the learning harder or easier as needed.
“I have evaluated many companies in the K-12 e-Learning marketplace and DreamBox Learning clearly stood out,” Hastings said. “They have already shown strong results in a short period of time, and the DreamBox Learning Platform has the best underlying adaptive technology, giving every student the opportunity to thrive through innovative online learning.”
Hastings will serve as chairman of DreamBox Learning. Two new board members are Kevin Hall, CEO of Charter School Growth Fund and John Danner, CEO of Rocketship Education, and former CEO of NetGravity.