Blockchain/AI/IoT | August 1, 2018

Rise Fund puts $130 million into personalized learning company DreamBox

Dennis Price
ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

DreamBox, based in Bellevue, Wash., delivers tailored math content to more than 3 million students in all fifty U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. Founded in 2006,  DreamBox is now one of most well-funded edtech firms in the U.S. and will use the funds to expand to other international markets and to new subject areas.

The deal marks the fifth education investment from the The Rise Fund, TPG Growth’s $2 billion impact investing fund. Rise Fund has backed U.S.-based Everfi, Digital House and Grupo VI-DA in Buenos Aires and LEAD in Mumbai.

“Globally, we are seeing dynamic companies like DreamBox doing transformative work and setting themselves up for significant growth,” said TPG’s Jim Coulter. Former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, an advisory to the Rise Fund, will join the DreamBox board.

The $130 million from Rise Fund also marks one of the largest sums of private capital raised by a black female CEO. Jessie Woolley-Wilson became CEO in 2010 after Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and non-profit venture firm the Charter Fund acquired the firm.

“As a company, we have been committed to unlocking the learning potential of every child regardless of what zip code they live in, what they look like, or what language they speak,” said Woolley-Wilson.

Approximately 60% of DreamBox students are from families at or below the 60th percentile of income earners. A 2016 Harvard study found that “Students who spent more time on the DreamBox software saw larger gains in achievement.”

The study of student achievement in the Howard County Public School System and the Rocketship Education charter school network found a positive association between DreamBox progress and achievement gains, but stopped short of declaring the effects causal.