Toronto Edtech Startup Raises $1 Million, Changes Name That Was Previously Really Bad

Toronto-based startup Class Messenger, formerly called WDWDT? (“What Did We Do Today?) has raised $1 million in funding from everyone’s favourite childhood book publisher, Scholastic.

Launched in April of this year, Class Messenger is an app that keeps teachers, parents and students in sync regarding what is going on in the classroom.

The company’s CEO Keith McSpurren, who previously cofounded technology companies CoveritLive (acquired by Demand Media) and Salesdriver (acquired by Carlson Marketing), said coupling up with Scholastic will give the company a big advantage.

“The value of Scholastic’s more than 90 years of serving children, parents and teachers gives us access to a wealth of knowledge that can be put into the product very quickly,” said McSpurren. “Additionally, Scholastic will tell its teacher customers how they can find and use Class Messenger, thereby building the audience more quickly than we could do separately without significant marketing expense.”

Class Messenger describes itself as “the best of things you use today (Twitter, email, text, Instagram, blogs) simplified into a service that takes 10 seconds to use.” Teachers can use the mobile app and website to create quick short form messages in categories like homework, reminders, surveys, meeting requests and more. Parents and students can receive messages from the app, the website, email, push notifications or even text message. It’s private and direct, and ensures that everyone stays informed.

When I was in elementary school I can say with certainty that when the three o’clock bell hit, school was out of my mind. However, potentially with an app like Class Messenger, I would never of had any excuse to show up the next day with my homework incomplete.

Never mind slips and agendas to send home to parents, as Class Messenger uses technology in the digital age to ensure that every students knows exactly what their expectations are for the following day. I can only imagine those young Einsteins will be thrilled to learn about the app.

The Edudemic blog said that upon launching, Class Messenger received a “tremendously positive response from the education community.” It also mentioned that McSpurren’s previous startup, CoverItLive, a live blogging tool for events, actually became quite popular for teachers wishing to use in and outside of the classroom.

The new investment from Scholastic will likely serve to improve promotional means and the app itself.

“Class Messenger will strengthen the communication links among teachers, parents and their children,” said Scholastic CEO Dick Robinson. “I was impressed with the current product capability and believe that the plan going forward will offer a useful service for our customers.”

Aron Solomon, a senior edtech advisor with MaRS Education Innovation, said he heard about the new investment, but it might be a challenge for Class Messenger to charge forward with market share. “I think that the space where startups are working to facilitate communication between schools, teachers, parents, and students is one already populated with some really solid players.”

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