Woot Math raises another $1.3M to help kids conquer fractions

BOULDER — Local venture-capital firm Foundry Group has provided another cash infusion for Boulder education-technology startup Woot Math, which makes a suite of software applications aimed at boosting students’ understanding of fractions.

Woot Math, officially Simbulus Inc., disclosed recently that it raised $1.3 million in a new funding round that comes just more than a year after Foundry Group invested $1 million in the company.

Cofounder and CEO Krista Marks said this week that the money will be used largely to continue building out Woot Math’s tools and platform, though the company also plans to start bringing in revenue this fall.

Woot Math makes interactive instructional tools that students can access on Chromebooks and other mobile devices. Woot Math will also launch a new polling tool this fall that allows teachers to do real-time assessments in the classroom to gauge how well students are grasping specific concepts and where they might be stumbling.

The company is also working to convert pilot users of the platform from the recently completed school year to paid users for the coming 2016-17 school year. Inundated by requests to pilot the program last year, Woot Math made the decision to make its software free for the 2015-16 year. That led to the company having more than 8,000 teachers using the platform with more than 80,000 students across all 50 states, including significant usage in the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley school districts locally.

The software will be licensed to schools on a subscription basis for roughly $4 per student per school year.

“We’re having a higher conversion than we expected, so we are very encouraged with the conversion from free to paid so far,” Marks said.

Woot Math first launched its product in the fall of 2014 but prior to that had run a year-long efficacy study funded in part by a $180,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to test the effectiveness of Woot Math’s applications in about 350 students. In addition to the new funding round, Woot Math recently received a follow-on NSF grant of $750,000 that will enable the company to do a much larger study in the fall that includes roughly 2,000 students.

Based in downtown Boulder, Woot Math has seven full-time employees and five contractors, and Marks said the firm could add a couple of more over the coming year. Most of the company’s growth this year will be fueled by the team already in place, she said.

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