About a year ago, we announced BookNook’s first fundraising round. A group of dual-bottom line investors, led by Reach Capital, bet on a company with a very rough alpha product, a handful of pilot schools, and a vision that technology could be used to make engaged, collaborative learning happen for small groups of students.
Ten months later, we are thrilled to announce the completion of our seed fundraising with an additional infusion of $2 million, jointly led by Better Ventures and the Urban Innovation Fund that included new funding from our existing VC investors and new investors Kapor Capital, Redhouse Education, and Edovate Capital.
Early stage startups are in many ways thought experiments—you set out to test a set of hypotheses about how your technology can help people and expect to learn a lot along the way. If you’re doing things right, you spend a lot of time listening, keeping an open mind, and embracing your failures when you hear about what isn’t working.
So what did we learn in the past year? And what are we doing about it?
Hypothesis #1: Small Groups, Big Results
What we hoped to prove: Our biggest bet—and what makes us different from everyone else in the digital reading space—is our focus on small groups as the unit of instruction. Along with our advisor David Pearson, we believe that something special happens when students work together in groups of 4 or fewer—and there is a lot of research to back that up. (more…)