Clever CEO Tyler Bosmeny says that more than 50,000 schools are now using the service — and that this year, and next, are going to be the years that education tech in general finally hits its stride.
The company, which creates a third-party development platform that centers around applications for teachers and students. In August 2012, Clever had only been deployed in 1,000 school. The company raised $30 million in December last year, Clever has raised $44.3 million in total.
“For us, I’m sure you hear this all the time, but education is really hard to get traction and really hard for good ideas to spread,” Bosmeny said. “And so far that hasn’t been the case with Clever. We have more than 1 in 3 schools in America using our tech. It’s almost entirely public schools, in big urban districts.”
To help Clever continue growing, the company’s brought on a couple new hires: Renette Youssef, formerly of CrowdFlower, and Roli Saxena, recently of LinkedIn. We sat down with Bosmeny to get a quick update and his thoughts on 2015 and 2016.
TC: What were some of the biggest surprises in education tech in 2015?
TB: I would say by far the biggest is the focus on student data privacy. A year ago there weren’t many of us talking about this and now it has become a central issue for schools who are trying to adapt to this new world. Also, there’s the flood of apps into the classroom. We talk to districts they were using two or three pieces of software two to three years ago, now they’re trying to use 30. This is public schools, everywhere, technology’s finally happening in education, which is exciting, but there are also new challenges with that.
TC: Can you talk about some new hires?
TB: We’d never had any marketing at Clever. It’s been entirely through organic growth, word of mouth, and the applications themselves advocating schools to use Clever. We realized we needed to invest in brand and message. So we wanted to get a world class person to build this function at clever. So we found [Youssef] from Crowdflower, and with this huge base of districts and applications on our platform, we needed a leader to come in and help us grow those relationships. We really wanted to find a world class hire here, we looked for a while to find the right leader for this function. That’s where [Saxena] came in.