Edmodo Adds Staff, Makes Acquisition to Enhanced Student Experience

Edmodo, the leading social learning platform, announced the acquisition of Root-1, developers of OpenMinds.  COO Crystal Hutter said, “The acquisition will allow developers to focus on the student learning experience and for teachers to customize for what their teaching.” In short, it will be “easier to build cool experiences” on Edmodo.
The Root-1 “team is amazing,” said Hutter, “this acquisition was about “talent as well as technology.” (See the press release below for details.)
App Update.  Edmodo launched its app marketplace here at SXSW last year with 40 apps and 6 million users. This year, there are 500 apps and nearly 18 million users. About half of the apps are fee based or have a premium component.  With lots of inbound interest in app development, the Edmodo team has been able to ensure grade level and subject coverage.
Fun new apps include Flatter World, building on the Flat Stanley craze of 2010.  Most developers want to leverage the community aspect of Edmodo and value the  real time feedback and immediate connection with millions of users.
Talent. In addition to the Root-1 acquisition, Edmodo has been hiring.  Recent notable hires include VP of Engineering Damon Sicore formerly of Mozilla.  Jackson Gates, formerly of Pandora will head Business Development.  Andreas Quandt, formerly of Facebook will head the analytics team.
Edmodo has an active presence here at SXSW, both at the education and interactive conferences.  This afternoon three districts will share classroom successes—Springbranch, Texas;  Chesterfield, Virginia; and Chula Vista California.

— Press Release —

Edmodo Acquires Education Technology Start-up Root-1
Social learning platform grows executive team, triples user base to 18 million, offers 400 third-party apps to deliver personalized learning at scale
AUSTIN, Texas (Mar. 5, 2013) – Edmodo, the free and secure K-12 social learning platform, today announced the acquisition of Root-1, an award-winning education technology start-up and developers of OpenMinds, a free platform that allows teachers to instantly customize education apps.
With the acquisition, Edmodo gains industry leading technology that will expand the capabilities of the company’s popular platform. The entire Root-1 team will join Edmodo, with co-founders, Manish Kothari and Ketan Kothari (former co-founders of AlphaSmart) taking on key roles in platform strategy and growth. Root-1 co-founder and early Google employee, Vibhu Mittal, will head up research and development for the organization. Co-founder Adam Stepinski will take on a key role within Edmodo’s platform engineering team.
“We’re excited to welcome the Root-1 team and have them join our efforts to expand the education app market. Gone are the days when the seven-year textbook purchasing cycle dominated education and controlled which content could reach the classroom,” said Nic Borg, CEO and co-founder of Edmodo. “Teachers are discovering new digital, common core and standards-aligned content in modern Edmodo classrooms every day.”
Last year at SXSWedu, Edmodo launched an API and platform for third-party developers. Since then, the platform has grown to support more than 400 apps while the main service has tripled its total user base, now exceeding 18 million registered users.  Founded in 2008, the company’s growth to date has been largely organic, with teachers sharing Edmodo from classroom to classroom, around the globe.
Teachers have been quick to adopt Edmodo where they have direct oversight around the selection and deployment of high quality, tailored content and apps to students in the classroom, in their homes, and on their mobile devices. As teachers all over the country are being asked to do more with less, Edmodo’s social features meet a digital generation of students precisely where they are and help teachers save time and much needed resources.
Edmodo’s engaging, easy-to-use apps help teachers to scale personalized instruction for every student.  With content from developers like MasteryConnect, Sokikom, and StudySync, the apps cover everything from biology to poetry, and grammar to fractions. Teachers can connect these apps to site features like badges, assignments, and quizzes in order to create highly effective learning experiences for their students.
“Edmodo’s apps facilitate collaboration and virtual teamwork to accelerate learning,” said Melinda Pierce, M.Ed., eighth-grade language arts teacher in Palm Beach County, Fla. “After twenty years in the classroom, I’m as excited as a first-year teacher these days. Edmodo apps help me keep my teaching fresh and interesting for my students.”
Over the past year, Edmodo has experienced significant organizational growth, doubling the size of its workforce and adding considerable pedigree to the executive team. Recent notable hires include Vice President of Engineering Damon Sicore (formerly of Mozilla), Vice President of Business Development Jackson Gates (formerly of Pandora), Head of Product and Platform Analytics Andreas Quandt (formerly of Facebook) and General Counsel Aden Fine (formerly of the American Civil Liberties Union).
Edmodo plans to have an active presence at SXSWedu this year. Developers are encouraged to join the Edmodo team at Tuesday evening’s meet-up to meet Manish, Ketan and Adam and share best practices around building Edmodo apps.  Following is a list of all Edmodo’s SXSWedu events:

About Edmodo  
Edmodo’s mission is to connect all learners with the people and resources they need to reach their full potential. On Edmodo, teachers are at the center of a powerful network that connects them to students, administrators, and parents. This network surfaces the world’s best resources and tools, providing the building blocks of a high quality education. In Edmodo’s secure environment, teachers and students can collaborate, share content, and use educational apps to augment in-classroom learning. These powerful capabilities enable teachers to personalize learning for every student. Edmodo is free for teachers and students and always will be. The company is headquartered in San Mateo, Calif. Learn more at www.edmodo.com.


Disclosure: Edmodo is a Learn Capital portfolio company where Tom is partner

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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