A small ed tech startup launched out of a Yale dorm is attracting some big-time Silicon Valley attention. On Monday, Panorama Education, a company that offers K-12 schools survey and analytics services, said that it had raised a $4 million seed round led by Mark Zuckerberg’s Startup:Education fund and SoftTech VC. The round, which marks Startup:Education’s first national equity investment, also included Google Ventures (s GOOG), Ashton Kutcher’s A-Grade Investments, Yale University and others.
Cofounded by Aaron Feuer while an undergraduate at Yale, the startup goes beyond providing SurveyMonkey-style tools to help schools figure out the best questions to ask and methods to use to tackle their problems. Then, it analyzes the data to provide administrators and educators with insights. Since launching early last year, the company said its service has been used by more than 4,000 schools, including the Connecticut State Department of Education and the Los Angeles Unified School District.
“We’re focused on helping schools with analytics, but while many products start with a survey-forward approach… we work backwards to help them figure out the best way to ask questions and [conduct] analysis,” said Feuer. For example, if a teacher wants to understand how well she’s engaging her fourth grade students, Panorama can draw from its database of hundreds of vetted questions to create a survey that will lead to the most helpful answers, he added.
Data and analytics tools are becoming increasingly important in education but, for the most part, startups and services in the space focus on helping schools analyze and understand the various data streams they already maintain. Feuer decided to zero in on helping schools collect feedback after serving as a state student council member in high school. School leaders wanted the information to address issues like parent involvement, bullying prevention and school safety, but lacked the proper tools, he said.
With the funding, the seven-person company plans to launch a new free tool for teachers and to expand its data analytics features.