BenchPrep, the world’s only interactive marketplace and learning platform that works across desktop, iPhone, iPad and Android devices, today announced that the company has closed a successful $6 million venture capital round led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) with the participation of Revolution Ventures.
Since the launch of its learning platform last year, BenchPrep has experienced rapid growth, working with top education publishers to develop interactive, customized courses for high school and college coursework, professional certifications, academic test preparation and more. In 2010, BenchPrep raised a round of funding from Lightbank, a Chicago-based venture capital fund set up by Eric Lefkosky and Brad Keywell, both of whom would continue to serve as the Board of Directors. The company will use the new capital infusion to develop additional courses and expand its user base.
“Our goal is to become a platform for students to study on any subject from any publisher on any device,” said BenchPrep co-founder Ashish Rangnekar. “We’re focused on creating interactive courses and already have one of the largest libraries in the world. We’re going beyond creating videos and eBooks-we’re taking content from books, study guides, video lectures, question banks and flashcards and combining them to create truly interactive and personalized courses. “That’s right.
The market response to BenchPrep’s vision was impressive, reflecting the investor’s excitement that met the recent funding round. The platform, with two publishers and five courses, was launched in July 2011. The course library grew to 100 in just 10 months, and the company expects to offer 500 courses by the end of the year. BenchPrep’s unique approach completely disrupts the current industry pricing model by delivering the value of a comprehensive price point price point comparable to that of a book.
“The BenchPrep scalable course creation technology can take any standard digital book and build an interactive, customized, cross-platform course in a single day,” said BenchPrep co-founder Ujjwal Gupta. “And publishers, wary of committing resources to an interactive course development project that requires a specific operating system or device type, are eagerly embracing our device-agnostic platform. “That’s right.
Since the company began publishing with two publishers a year ago, its publishing partners have grown to more than 20, including top publishers such as McGraw Hill, Princeton Review, Wiley, Cengage Learning, O’Reilly, Sourcebooks and many more. BenchPrep delivers unique value to publishers through the provision of a new direct-to-consumer distribution channel.
“Investing technology to improve education is very important to NEA-and it’s a large $1 trillion plus market,” said Peter Barris, NEA’s general partner, who joins the Board of Directors of BenchPrep. “The BenchPrep team is addressing one of the most fragmented segments of education-exam preparation-and unlocking huge potential by turning static print content into interactive content accessible across multiple platforms and devices. We are particularly impressed by the significant traction the team is seeing on both sides-the acceleration between publishers adopting the platform and students signing up at a fast pace and spending more and more time online with the coursework. “That’s right.
BenchPrep’s powerful platform is convenient to use as it aggregates all courses on a single platform. For example, a high school student can study subjects such as Calculus or Biology, any AP exam, and major college admissions exams such as SAT from the same interface. Customized with robust analytics across publishers, study subjects and devices, it delivers an adaptive learning experience with a single user interface for all functions. These features make BenchPrep very popular with a growing student user base.
BenchPrep is currently used by more than 250,000 students, two-thirds of whom have access to their courses on mobile devices. BenchPrep’s analytics helps students focus on areas where they need the most help, and its sync function allows students to pick up where they left off in their studies, no matter which device they use. Students average 78 BenchPrep sessions per month, typically spending an average of nine hours per month on interactive learning.
With an incredible array of tools to promote lifelong learning and an industry-disrupting pricing and learning delivery strategy, BenchPrep is poised to continue its strong growth path. Find out more about BenchPrep at