50 Days Worth of Blogs About ‘Tornadic’ Tom Vander Ark: Day 9

Day 9

Bold print are links!

Tom Vander Ark is a Managing Partner of Learn Capital, LLC.

LearnCapital is a venture capital firm focused exclusively on funding entrepreneurs with a vision for better and smarter learning.

Under Learn Capital there are 48 COMPANIES!

These are companies that Learn invests in right along  with the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook CEO), and Google. (Think keeping up with the virtual Jones’.)

I was shocked that not many knew Tom Vander Ark’s name when I first began my research.
Truth be known, sitting DAY 9 on this 50 Day research/blog adventure, I am sick of typing his name.

The reason people did not know his name, is because he is the face behind so many charters, and companies.
He is Hidden Right Out in the Open. He and his engineered money-making schemes, and financial fronts are in some form or another, invading your schools, our public schools, as I type.

He is an artisan at how he presents. He code switches. To schools he talks about free tools and resources (though we all know nothing, absolutely nothing is free in this capitalistic, materialistic millennium.) He will tell you exactly how fast and far you have to run to try and get on the train. To his investors he talks he talks about how fast and far their dollars can lay tracks for the train. And to fellow entrepreneurs he talks about the gains of owning a car (or 48) on the train.

Wooooot Woooooot ALL ABOARD the Virtual Venture. A BOOM in edtech as Tom would say!

Let’s look at some BIG HEAVY NUMBERS of SOME of the gold pots Tom has his hands deep in.

AltSchool is a network of schools with an interdisciplinary team aimed at offering experimental learning.
May 4, 2015 – Invested in $100M Series B with 10 others

A Trusted Marketplace for Educational Products & Resources.
Apr 5, 2015 – Invested in $2.9M Seed Round with 14 others

Teaching high schoolers coding
Jan 23, 2015 – Invested in $1.8M Seed Round with 4 others

The above are the first 3 of 44 Learn Capital companies listed (though I counted 48 on Learn Capital, LLC). You can see the entire list  on this page. All are clickable in manners that you can see WHO THE INVESTORS are. Tom & others Tom & others Tom & others Tom & others Tom…….

Here are some type-bites about some of the other Tom Vander Ark Companies:

*When you hire an Andela developer, you’re expanding what’s possible for Africa’s best and brightest.
We’ve built complex products for Fortune 500 companies and fast-growing startups.

*Already home to more than 7 million students and tens of thousands of instructors, Udemy is a global marketplace for the most up-to-date, on-demand online courses for today’s changing economy. Udemy’s revenue has grown 200 percent in the last 12 months and continues to grow at an increasing rate. Udemy plans to use the new capital to support international efforts, including growing its content library and product offerings to meet growing demand for online learning that provides upward mobility. The funds will also be used to expand Udemy’s enterprise offerings and build out its workforce.

*Creative Live CATALOG Miss the live class or need to take your time? Browse our catalog of hundreds of creative classes available for purchase. CreativeLive has broadcast more than 600 courses to more than 2 million students worldwide.

*Class Twist, Inc., doing business as ClassDojo, operates an online classroom tool…Class Twist Inc. is a small, fairly new organization in the prepackaged software companies industry located in San Francisco, CA. It opened its doors in 2011 and now has an estimated $860,000 in yearly revenue and 12 employees.

*LearnZillion Lands $7M From DCM, O’Reilly, NewSchools & More To Help Schools Adopt The Common Core. Currently LearnZillion has 120,000 teachers registered for its platform and reaches 1.4 million students. To ensure quality, the startup hand-picks a team of teachers to help curate and develop lesson plans and curricula. The team currently consists of 200 teachers from 41 states, which work in tandem over the summer to create lessons, resources for the platform to help teachers adopt Common Core-aligned curricula.Teachers and parents can get access to the LearnZillion platform for free, while schools and districts are required to subscribe to a paid, enterprise-level plan, which gives them access to premium professional development content, teaching insights and analytics, among other things.LearnZillion, a favorite of ed-tech enthusiast Bill Gates, has also formed alliances with Washington, D.C., and Syracuse, New York, public school systems.
^^^^^^^^^Think TeachersPayTeachers BUT all related to COMMON CORE!! (more on LearnZillion in another blog.)

*“Students come to Brainly when they both want and need to learn. We call this the ‘stuck” moment, and we see huge power in it.” How that ‘stuck’ moment can be monetised, Borkowski isn’t quite ready to say, but hints that a freemium model of some kind will be the preferred option. “Our vision is to ultimately maximize the potential of this moment to inspire students to learn in a collaborative community. Ultimately we are confident we can monetize in a variety of ways typically seen in freemium businesses, from advertising to upselling products or features. We have done some early testing, but it is not a focus for the next 12 months at least.”

*Edmodo was founded by Nic Borg and Jeff O’Hara in 2008. It is backed by Index Ventures, Benchmark, Greylock Partners, Learn Capital, New Enterprise Associates, Union Square Ventures, Glynn Capital Management, Tenaya Capital, SingTel Innov8, and KDDI. As of April 2015 Edmodo claimed to have over 50,000,000 users worldwide. They have a good shot at locking down the K-12 market in the US (they are at 9-10% penetration now based on ~55 mm total students): 1) Content Distribution: As they gain dominant market share, they can position Edmodo as a source for paid online content / games / resources. They can use this to either license from or dis-intermediate traditional textbook publishers.This is the iTunes approach, but given their market power, they can serve as a force for good by strong-arming publishers and eliminating waste in distribution. Whoever controls the distribution wins over time…

It all goes on and on and on….. but I hope as you are reading through all of these tidbits, that you would see the panoramic market in which Tom Vander Ark plays the game ‘Plunder-the-Schools’. Remember pyramiding sales platform companies that were so big in the 70s (Amway and MaryKay come to my mind)? Well Tom is set to drive a little bit more than a prized pale pink cadillac. ALL ABOARD ….. take a ride on the VanderArk Railroad. Oh, and when you land on that square—oh yes, you will be paying!


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