Explain Everything, the digital whiteboard, raises $3.7 million to bring learning to the iPad

Should you be interested in the lifecycle of the bee or the magic of clip art and equations then Explain Everything would like a world. This Wroclaw, Poland-based company offers a sort of iPad-powered whiteboard that lets you collaboratively display drawings and text, equations, and even stamp out fun (and educational) clip art presentations.

The company recently raised $3.7 million with the round led by EBRD, with Credo, RTA and NEV participating in order to expand their product outside of Europe. The product has been downloaded over 4 million times and they have 840,000 monthly active users.

Bartosz Gonczarek, Piotr Sliwinski, and Reshan Richards created the system to allow students and teachers share drawings and notes in real time. It works by seamlessly displaying a shared drawing on multiple devices and it can even be used on desktops and tablets. The Los Angeles school district has it installed on all 70,000 of its iPads and it is on 50% of all educational iPads in the UK.

The project came about when Gonczarek and Sliwinski created a failed animation program called PhotoPuppet. From out of the ashes of that startup the pair met a New York-based education who helped them refine the Explain Everything concept.

“One day in October 2010 I found a single Twitter post by Reshan Richards. He had just downloaded PhotoPuppet and was musing about its many features. I immediately emailed him and then we talked for a long time over Skype and email. Reshan wanted to make a screencasting app just like PhotoPuppet, but redesigned for education – having a modified user interface and more tools. It turned out that we were working on very similar concepts simultaneously, but from different points of view. Partnering with Reshan was natural as it would complete our team’s skillset by adding his abilities and background,” said Sliwinski.

“We raised the additional $3.7 million in order to take the education app even further into the business and corporate market. It’s great for preparing quick explanation videos, brainstorming and capturing ideas, and use videos instead of emails,” he said.

Generally the app is sort of a Powerpoint for education complete with animations, gestural annotations, and the ability to play back and record videos from your presentations. While Explain Everything can’t explain, say, why toast always falls butter-side down, you could feasibly use it to create a presentation about the subject.