OneVentures’ Investee Smart Sparrow Secures Strategic Investment from Global Education Leader

 
After finalising the transaction terms in New York (from left to right) - Grant Chamberlain, Johnathan Kolbar (YB Capital), Michelle Deaker, John Grillos and Dror Ben-Naim (Smart Sparrow), Brad Lindaas and Seth Stone (ACT)

After finalising the transaction terms in New York (from left to right) - Grant Chamberlain, Johnathan Kolbar (YB Capital), Michelle Deaker, John Grillos and Dror Ben-Naim (Smart Sparrow), Brad Lindaas and Seth Stone (ACT)

Smart Sparrow, the pioneering adaptive e-learning company based in Sydney and San Francisco, has secured a strategic investment of US$7.5 million from global education leader American College Testing (ACT). ACT is a non-profit developer of tests and assessments including the ACT® test and other assessments taken by millions of individuals annually across the world. 

ACT was joined in the round by existing Smart Sparrow investors OneVentures, Moelis and Uniseed.  The total value of the round was $15.5 million including the value of convertible notes held by OneVentures and Moelis that converted into equity.

Smart Sparrow is a global leader in adaptive and personalised learning technology. Smart Sparrow’s courseware development platform and instructional design suite are used by more than 10,000 faculty members worldwide, and educators have created more than 20,000 unique digital learning experiences such as simulations, smart lessons, and interactive blended or online courses over the past five years.

Throughout its near 60-year history, ACT has earned a reputation for its expertise in assessment. Strategic investments such as those in Smart Sparrow are enabling ACT to expand and enhance its impact on learning and assessment.

Co-founder and CEO of Smart Sparrow Dror Ben-Naim, Ph.D. said “We have long admired ACT’s leadership in education research and efficacy, which reflects our own heritage as a university-incubated technology. This new association will help us deliver on our mission of putting amazing technology in the hands of global educators, so they can create dynamic learning experiences that authentically blend learning and assessment. Educators will be better equipped to address the needs of their individual learners, and prepare them to be deep thinkers and creative problem solvers.”

“Across society, people are interested in redesigning assessment systems so they are seamlessly integrated with the learning experience,” said Alina von Davier, vice president of ACTNext, the business innovation division at ACT. “Recent advances in technology, algorithms, and data modeling provide actionable evidence that can help students reach their potential.”

As a result of ACT’s investment, the two organisations will collaborate to accelerate work in learning innovation and expand upon their shared mission to help individuals succeed academically, and make successful transitions into the career pathways of tomorrow. Through leveraging ACTs extensive network, Smart Sparrow’s solutions will enter new markets and geographies to help people around the world learn more efficiently and effectively than ever before.

OneVentures Managing Partner and Smart Sparrow Non-Executive Director Dr Michelle Deaker said, “We are delighted that ACT has joined OneVentures as a major investor in Smart Sparrow and we are excited by the potential for collaboration between the two companies to propel Smart Sparrow to greater success.”

Grant Chamberlain, who joined OneVentures as Principal in November 2017, represented OneVentures’ funds and Smart Sparrow’s financial investors in discussions with ACT.

ACT’s press release announcing its investment in Smart Sparrow is available at http://leadershipblog.act.org/2018/02/global-education-nonprofit-backs.html

About Smart Sparrow

Smart Sparrow is an educational technology company that helps higher education institutions and companies create better courses by making them more active and adaptive. Working with Smart Sparrow, anyone can create amazingly engaging and adaptive learning experiences and then continuously improve them using learner analytics. Learners are better-supported and more motivated to succeed. Smart Sparrow believes in designing tools that support great teaching and learning solutions that excite learners. Learn more about Smart Sparrow at www.smartsparrow.com.

About ACT

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organisation dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as a national leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality assessments grounded in nearly 60 years of research. ACT offers a uniquely-integrated set of solutions designed to provide personalised insights that help individuals succeed from elementary school through career. To learn more about ACT, visit us online at www.act.org.

About OneVentures

OneVentures is an Australian venture capital firm with $320M under management. OneVentures utilises its strengths in business building to accelerate portfolio company performance. A global growth focus drives investment selection with portfolio companies addressing multi-billion dollar problems from breakthroughs in healthcare (e.g. needle free vaccine delivery) through to the transformation of online education (e.g. next generation courseware and personalised learning) and the connected world (IoT, SaaS and virtual reality).