Parchment, a startup which has taken the offline, aging process of getting and sharing academic and other credentials online, today announced a $10 million round of follow-on funding, bringing its total investment to date to $45 million. The new round is led by The Raine Group, and includes the company’s previous investors, and will be used to bring on new talent and to build new product, related to both expanding the types of credentials Parchment supports beyond academia, and to helping students using its data put that information to greater use when it comes to admissions.
The company has been in operation since 2003, and is now led by Matthew Pittinsky. Pittinsky didn’t found the company, but he did found Blackboard in 1997 and came on board with Parchment in 2011. Under Pittinsky, the platform has grown, with a 90 percent increase in registered consumer users in 2014, from 800,000 to just under 1.6 million.
“A wide range of educational programs were using Blackboard, and at a certain point it struck me as odd that we were investing in innovating the teaching and learning processes behind those programs and moving them online, but the credential that you’d earned was still very paper based,” “You’d still get an envelope within an envelope with transcripts and the data would be trapped as a result of that, and that’s true of a wide range of certifications and licenses, and that’s where I got very excited about the idea of bringing that online.”
Since joining the company, Pittinsky has also helped it shift its focus from solely looking at students and academic records, to eyeing opportunities in other fields where training and certification is important – which extends to basically every business and enterprise setting, both internal and beyond, that you can think of. Parchment has begun to explore those opportunities, but plans to do more on the back of this new cash injection.
It also wants to help its growing student user pool get more out of the platform. Already, it provides analytics that can inform a student what their likelihood is of being accepted to a program or school based on the credentials they’ve attained. Pittinsky says product additions will harness that data to more advanced ends, and help students gain even more direction regarding what might give them the edge to land the program acceptances they’re after.
Moving offline data online is a painstaking process, and likely more so in the slow-moving educational space. But Parchment is making progress, and showing its users and clients that there’s useful data to be mined within the mountains of offline information contained in these records is a good way to get them to accelerate the pace of transition.