Kiddom, a platform that offers a digital curriculum that fits the core standards required by states, announced today that it has raised a $35 million Series C round led by Altos Ventures, with participation from Owl Ventures, Khosla Ventures and Outcomes Collective. The financing came nearly three years after Kiddom’s Series B, a $15 million round led by Owl.
The startup didn’t just raise money, it finally learned how to make some. Founded in 2012, Kiddom was able to raise millions without revenue or a clear business model. But Ahsan Rizvi, CEO and co-founder of Kiddom, and Abbas Manjee, chief academic officer and co-founder of Kiddom, think an early focus on adoption instead of monetization was necessary.
“At our Series B, we were definitely not making money,” Manjee said. “But we have a free product that teachers and students use, and the idea was to build an enterprise product on top of it.” It’s a common strategy with bottom up sales. For example, ClassDojo prioritized adoption for years before it finally introduced a paying version of its classroom socialization product.
Kiddom poured most of its capital into research and development into its enterprise product. It has two parts. First, it offers a platform that helps schools integrate all of their different platforms into an interface that tracks student utilization and achievement. Second, it offers that platform alongside the product it’s built up for years, a digital curriculum that fits in with Common Core, a set of math and English academic standards that students are required to learn on a grade by grade level. The latter is perhaps the hardest sell for Kiddom, but also the most lucrative.
Manjee explained vendor approval processes across the States can take a long time, and the stakes are high since decision-makers will only turn to a handful of vendors when it comes to meeting core standards.
A lot of Kiddom’s success depends on if traditional curriculum providers, like the Pearsons and McGraw-Hills of the world, don’t catch up to the digitization of education. Rizvi explained that older companies are “losing market share rapidly” right now. Last year, McGraw-Hill and Cengage terminated a proposed merger that would’ve added some fresh competition to the curriculum world.
The product has resonated with some users. While Kiddom declined to give specifics, it said that new ARR growth grew 2,525% its first year. In 2020 to 2021, ARR growth is on track to be 300%. It said that at least one teacher uses its product in 70% of schools in the United States, a metric that has remained consistent since 2018.
Kiddom’s fresh funding and revenue shows that its years of product development have kept it competitive in the eyes of investors, synergistic unicorns and the stingiest enterprise customer of them all, school districts.