ThinkCERCA, a Chicago, IL-based provider of personalized literacy solutions, secured $10.1m in Series B funding.
Backers included Scott Cook and Signe Ostby, founders of the Valhalla Charitable Foundation, a number of prominent hedge fund managers and investors from the tech, education, and corporate sectors also joined, including TAL Education Group, the world’s largest education company; Jeff Weiner (CEO) and Mike Gamson (SVP) of LinkedIn; Chuck Templeton, the founder of OpenTable; Deborah Quazzo, the founder and managing partner of GSV Acceleration; Sam Yagan, the founder of OkCupid and former Match CEO; Follett Knowledge Fund; and Plum Alley Investments, a syndicate dedicated to investing in women-led companies.
The company intends to use the funds to continue to expand its offering as well as operations and business reach.
Developed in 2012 by Eileen Murphy Buckley and Abby Ross, ThinkCERCA empowers teachers across the curriculum to increase college-, career-, and civic-readiness through intensive close reading and argumentative writing instruction.
The company has already developed an interactive lesson type designed to prepare students and – over the next 12 to 18 months – will implement a product-led growth strategy to accelerate its impact. This plan entails launching 7,000 new lessons to provide students with discrete instruction and practice in critical literacy skills, such as supporting arguments with evidence across subjects. These new lessons, like the rest of ThinkCERCA’s curriculum, will be differentiated for grades 3 through 12.
The company will also be looking to expand its differentiation offerings to meet the needs of more learners, including adults, thanks to extensive teacher demand.
Also as part of the Series B round, joining the ThinkCERCA board will be Tom Chi, a former Google X co-founder and world-renowned inventor.