When we last saw Quick Key, founder Walter Duncan was working to get his quiz grading app into schools across the country. Now they’ve announced a $250,000 raise to help expand their reach and improve the product.
So far in 2014 we have closed on $100,000 in cash plus an additional. They also have a $300,000 dollar-for-dollar raise by another investor. The company raised approximately $330,000 from investors since launch in August 2012.
The app, which streamlines the grading process utilizing optical character recognition, has so far been used to scan 300,000 quizzes. One teacher, Younis Aydin, in Istanbul, wrote that the app helped him grade 400 exams in less than an hour, a feat that used to take him a week.
Their shareholders include ARC Capital, an educational venture fund, and another anonymous shareholder who invested the full $250,000 last year. They have added CMO of Pearson Inc., Gary June, to their board of directors. The app originally made a stir on Kickstarter where it raised $100,000.
The best thing about this app is Duncan’s genuine earnestness in giving back to the educational community. He’s been working as a teacher for 15 years and recently left to maintain this product. He also has a keen understanding of what teachers need. For example, because he knows that many teachers don’t have mobile Internet access, the app works with or without a connection, allowing for quiz scanning without data usage. “Quick Key is really all about a community of educators working together to make their lives and their students’ lives better,” said Duncan.
Duncan and his co-founder Isaac D. Van Wesep have taken the app from a simple idea that Duncan narrated using a dimly lit YouTube video to something a real business. He even brought his former students in on the game.
“Isaac and I have assembled a slightly bigger team: a former student of mine, who is now a junior at UC Berkeley and a software developer, built the Web app for us, and a friend of his (also a student at Berkeley) has been helping out too. These guys are young and sharp – and I love it that one of my former students is on the team,” he said.
There are plenty of competitors in this space, including a vociferous one called Gradecam, but it looks like Duncan has found a niche for himself and is exploiting it.