Over the past year, social test prep startup Grockit has been slowly transitioning away from its initial focus on helping students succeed on standardized tests to a broader interest in general, lifelong learning. Now, the company is abandoning its founding purpose all together.
On Wednesday, Grockit announced that it had sold its test prep assets to Kaplan, the education subsidiary of the Washington Post Company (s WPO). The company also said it was rebranding to become Learnist, which is the name of the Pinterest-like education-focused site it launched last year. The companies declined to share financial details on the deal.
Grockit launched in 2007 to develop test prep products that enable students to prepare for the SAT, ACT, GMAT, GRE and LSAT with peers and friends. But, last year, the company refocused the majority of its attention on Learnist, which lets users create “learn boards” on all kinds of topics, from the new Common Core state standards for k-12 education to sports psychology and international relations. Instead of just serving formal students, Learnist has said that it thinks of its audience as anyone who’s curious and interested in acquiring new skills and learning new information online.
The Grockit side of the business has been revenue-generating, even though the company has put few resources toward it in the last year, co-founder Farbood Nivi said. By selling off its test prep assets, he added, Learnist gets more runway without diluting shares.
“It gives us the opportunity to grow more quickly or extend our runway. Having those options without diluting anybody is like gold in the startup world,” he said.
So far, Learnist has attracted about one million users, 30 percent of whom are active on a monthly basis, and is on the verge of international expansion, said Nivi.
In December, the company raised $20 million in a round led by Discovery Communications, bringing its total amount raised to $44. 7 million. Other investors include Atlas Ventures, Benchmark Capital, Integral Capital Partners and GSV Capital Corp.