Online learning site Grockit raised another $7 million in a Series C financing today. Atlas Venture led the round, with existing investors Benchmark and Integral Capital participating. The last time Grockit raised money was an $8 million Series B in 2008.
Grockit is an online learning community that adds game mechanics to helping high school students prepare for standardized tests such as the GMAT and SAT. With the new capital, Grockit plans to expand into more general online education with the Grockit Academy. “We are moving out of test prep into education,” says CEo Farb Nivi. It will start with a Summer Enrichment Academy in June. School districts are already interested because they are losing funding for summer enrichment programs, and Grockit is a free online alternative.
Grockit Academy will be a place where students can learn together and teach each other. It will start with math and English curriculums for 8th to 12th grades. The group learning is free, but if students (or their parents) want reports or adaptive learning algorithms to help them get smarter, they can pay a $79 annual fee. It is the same freemium model Grockit has with its test prep community. Nivi says he is seeing conversion rates of between 3 and 7 percent from the free to premium accounts, and those conversion rates are increasing.
Grockit launched at TechCrunch50 in 2008. CEO Farb Nivi came back from a near-death motor accident last year, to rebuild the startup and he is now refocussing on the larger education market rather than just test prep , which is already crowded.