In the past few weeks, two Canadian startups got a boost with rounds of funding. Here’s the latest on who raised how much, and from whom.
Flipd raises funding from Ryerson Futures, Figure 1 founders
Toronto-based Flipd, which allows users to block phone distractions during work, has raised an undisclosed round of funding.
Investors include Ryerson Futures, Figure 1 founders Gregory Levey, Richard Penner, and Joshua Landy, and Candice Faktor of Faktory Ventures.
Alanna Harvey, Flipd co-founder and marketing director, was a communication student at Ryerson University where she was taught by Levey. “As a co-founder of my own startup, I saw some intriguing parallels with the way Flipd is approaching its mission,” said Levey. “And as someone who has taught undergrad and graduate students for over ten years, I definitely see the value of that mission.”
The company — which so far has 130,000 users clocking 150 million minutes on Flipd — plans to expand its platform into classrooms. The app works by telling users it’s time to “Flip Off” their devices for class, and the app gently reminds them not to use their phones during the lecture. Professors can then see data that measures when students did use their phones, and offer incentives or rewards to those that remained attentive.
Classcraft raises $2.8 million
Sherbrooke and Montreal-based Classcraft, which is working to gamify the classroom experience, has raised $2.8 million to scale its platform.
Whitecap Venture Partners led the funding round with Brightspark Ventures, MaRS Catalyst Fund, backed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Unite, and previous investors following on.
Classcraft allows teachers to build roleplaying games based on lesson plans, turning them into online quests overlaid with course content. Each point on maps is created by the teacher, and can include a worksheet, video, or quiz.
“Introducing a role-playing game with real-world risks and rewards revolutionized my classroom,” said Shawn Young, Classcraft co-founder and CEO. “Students were more engaged, they worked harder and were more thoughtful in making decisions in and out of the classroom. Not only were they excelling academically, they were stepping up to help their fellow students as well.”
Young started developing Classcraft after his teaching experience in 2013, when he created a basic online role-playing game that he deployed with his own students. The impact of the game dramatically changed the outcomes in his classroom, according to Young.
Classcraft — which also has an office in New York — is used in 75 countries, including over 20,000 schools in the US, with more than 2.5 million student users around the world.
“Our mission with Classcraft is to reimagine the classroom with collaborative play at the center of the experience,” said Devin Young, Classcraft co-founder and president. “We’re extremely proud of the impact this approach has had with students, particularly around Social Emotional Learning. With this round of funding, our focus now is to build an even richer gaming ecosystem through partnerships and self-paced, personalized learning. We’re very excited about what’s to come!”