Santa Monica, CA and Boston, MA - Formative, a SaaS-based real-time student data platform, today announced a $70 million minority investment led by global growth investor Summit Partners, with participation from existing investors including Emerson Collective, Fika Ventures, Mac Ventures and Rethink Education. The investment will further fuel Formative’s product enhancement efforts, increase teacher and administrator support and expand the company’s international reach.
Formative’s mission is to improve student outcomes and educator effectiveness by accelerating the student-teacher feedback loop and providing actionable visualizations of student comprehension and achievement. Formative’s approach is designed to enable educators to identify and address learning deficiencies as concepts are being taught and, importantly, before learning is lost.
Research indicates that an effective student-teacher feedback loop is among the best ways to increase learning impact. Yet, many districts and school systems often rely on high-stakes summative assessments such as final exams and standardized testing, which we believe results in a “too little, too late” approach to addressing learning deficiencies.
“As a classroom teacher, I helped my students achieve record-breaking results by providing daily formative assessments, targeted intervention and quicker feedback loops. We founded Formative to apply this approach to the benefit of students around the world, with a goal to double the effectiveness of every teacher on our platform,” said Craig Jones, Co-Founder and CEO of Formative. “This has been an incredibly difficult year for schools, but the silver lining is that educators have found new and better ways to reach their students that we believe will last well beyond the pandemic. At Formative, we believe that teachers are superhuman, and we come to work every day to help them unlock those superpowers.”
According to an independent study by the American Institutes of Research, 90% of teachers surveyed believed that Formative’s platform helps to improve student achievement. Today, Formative is used by educators and administrators globally and has a presence in the majority of U.S. school districts. In the past year alone, more than four million students have engaged with the platform, and the company has delivered annual recurring revenue growth of approximately 700%.
As classrooms shifted into virtual environments during the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers across the country and around the world searched for solutions to help organize effective digital classrooms. Formative offered a valuable resource for teachers during this challenging transition, as it helped districts to switch curriculum online in seconds and kept all stakeholders connected with student data. Approximately 5,000 schools and districts signed up for Formative’s COVID-19 Assistance Program, which provided free access to its full platform. Designed for physical, virtual or hybrid classrooms with synchronous or asynchronous interactions, Formative has continued to see more students on the platform as the need for flexibility has solidified.
“Formative is the most impactful e-learning tool that I have found,” said Brian Lovejoy, Teacher in South Carolina. “Formative’s platform offers customization, rapid feedback, and the opportunity for real-time student engagement. I can see what my students are doing while they are doing it – their mistakes, their thought processes, their successes – and leave comments while they work. I am grateful for what Formative has created and excited about the impact it’s allowing me to have on my students’ experiences.”
Craig Jones and Kevin McFarland founded Formative as graduate students at UCLA in 2013. Today, the company is growing rapidly and plans to double headcount in 2021.The Formative team is composed largely of former educators who deeply value and empathize with the teacher experience.
“We’ve spent nearly a decade working toward a future where a single test score no longer determines a student’s potential in life. Last year forced everyone in education to make hard choices and work long hours. We were fortunate to be in a place where we could offer the COVID-19 Assistance Program and participate in the moment with the community. We had no idea how far forward certain aspects of education would be thrown. This funding and Summit Partners’ deep experience in scaling founder-led growth businesses will allow us to continue pushing the envelope to help educators and students everywhere,” said Kevin McFarland, Co-Founder and COO of Formative.
“Formative helps to accelerate learning for students, save time for teachers and quantify results for school and district administrators,” said Tom Jennings, a Managing Director at Summit Partners who will join Formative’s Board of Directors. “We believe Formative has a rare combination of rapid, capital-efficient growth, innovative products, delighted customers and a humble, mission-driven team. We admire how Craig, Kevin and the team have built the business and expect our partnership to help Formative accelerate product enhancements and the continued global expansion of the business.”
Formative is a web-based student response platform that allows teachers to give live assignments to students, enabling instant teaching adjustments and long-term student growth tracking. Teachers use Formative to see student work in real-time, give feedback, track student progress to learning standards and collaborate around common assessment data. For more information, please see www.formative.com or follow on LinkedIn.
About Summit Partners
Founded in 1984, Summit Partners is a global alternative investment firm that is currently managing more than $28 billion in capital dedicated to growth equity, fixed income and public equity opportunities. Summit Partners invests across growth sectors of the economy and has invested in more than 500 companies in technology, healthcare and other growth industries. Notable e-learning and EdTech companies backed by Summit Partners include A Cloud Guru, Allego, Immersive Labs, Jamf, LearnUpon, Lingoda, Ruffalo Noel Levitz and Teaching Strategies. Summit Partners maintains offices in North America and Europe and invests in companies around the world. For more information, please see www.summitpartners.com or follow on LinkedIn.
In the United States of America, Summit Partners operates as an SEC-registered investment advisor. In the United Kingdom, this document is issued by Summit Partners LLP, a firm authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Summit Partners LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC388179 and its registered office is at 11-12 Hanover Square, London, W1S 1JJ, UK. This document is intended solely to provide information regarding Summit Partners’ potential financing capabilities for prospective portfolio companies.