Noodle, an online recommendation engine for education led by Princeton Review founder John Katzman, has acquired Lore, a small New York-based startup that provides a learning management system for college professors and students.
When we last wrote about Lore, the company had recently changed its name from Coursekit and was planning to take on Blackboard and other learning management systems with software that was more like a consumer-facing social network for education. Instead of trying to sell to the schools, Lore targets professors and students directly with a free site that lets them create an online community for sharing updates and other comments about content.
In a post on Noodle’s blog, Katzman, who is a company co-founder and chairman, said:
“Lore is already the best learning management system; fleshed out with a full suite of assessment, synchronous, and mobile tools, it will be an important part of our efforts. Further, its community shares our core values: to get each student the educational resources that best connect to his or her passions and needs, and then get out of the way.”
The company also said that both Lore and Noodle will remain free. But Noodle, which lets learners of all ages search for recommendations on tutors, colleges, graduate programs and other educational needs, has additional plans for Lore’s technology.
According to Inside Higher Ed, Noodle plans to use Lore to build another business model around “Noodle Launch,” a new service intended to help colleges expand deeper into digital education. While he didn’t appear to share too many details, Katzman said it will offer “a la carte” digital services — from instructional design to marketing to a learning management system — that help colleges cut costs while expanding into online learning.
The companies did not disclose the terms of the deal, but Joe Cohen, one of Lore’s co-founders, said it was a technology acquisition. Each of the seven team members had the choice to join Noodle but none of them will be joining.
Given Katzman’s track record — first Princeton Review, then online learning company 2U (formerly 2tor) — Noodle is a company worth watching. Since launching last May, the startup has been relatively quiet, but it looks like the company will have more to share soon.
Lore, which was founded by a trio of friends who dropped out of the University of Pennsylvania in 2011 to launch the company, is a TechStars company and has raised about $6 million from investors including the Founder Collective, Peter Thiel and IA Ventures.