SMARTHINKING Closes $5 Million Series A Financing
“This new financing allows us to capitalize on our first-mover acceptance as
the de facto provider of high-quality online student support,” said Chris
Gergen, SMARTHINKING co-founder and CEO. “With this investment, we can
continue to improve and innovate, and we are delighted to be able to do this
with such a highly regarded investment team,” added Burck Smith,
SMARTHINKING co-founder and President.
Currently serving over 50 colleges and universities, SMARTHINKING will use
the monies raised for technology enhancement and greatly expanded sales and
“When we invest in education companies we look for businesses that make
creative use of technology and appreciate the importance of the human
element in the learning process,” said Tom Flood, CEO of Collier
Investments. “While it has been widely reported that the United States is
facing an impending teacher shortage, in many respects we believe this is
largely a distribution problem. SMARTHINKING is using technology in a
common sense way to bring highly trained educators and students together and
to make online individualized tutoring convenient and affordable for
thousands of students in colleges and universities.”
“The increasingly competitive education market is aggressively pursuing
strategies to attract and retain students,” said Gina Dubbe’, Managing
Partner of Walker Investment Funds. “We see SMARTHINKING’s learning support
venture as a great foundation from which to build a high growth diversified
business. The company has executed with great success, and we are delighted
to be working with them again.”
Paul Stephens of Robertson Stephens Investment Management, Gordon Macklin,
former President of the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc.
(NASDAQ) and former Chairman of Hambrecht & Quist Group (H&Q), Frank Bonsal
of New Enterprise Associates, and Joseph Hardiman, former President of
NASDAQ and partner of Alex Brown, also participated in the round as
The successful completion of this round of financing follows other
significant developments for SMARTHINKING:
- The formation of new business partnerships with Blackboard Inc.,
Mascot Network Inc., Digital Learning Interactive and Public Broadcasting
System which increased SMARTHINKING’s exposure to over four million
higher-education students. These partnerships are in addition to agreements
with Houghton Mifflin, Thomson Learning, and Pearson Education to co-market
SMARTHINKING services with over 3 million textbooks this year.
- The launch of over 50 institutional clients including the California
Virtual College-Region 4, Harcourt University, University of Maryland
Athletics Program, and Education Management Corporation – the parent company
of 23 art institutes nationwide.
- Its selection as a preferred provider of online tutoring services
for the Foundation for California Community Colleges’ (FCCC) Higher
Education Cooperative Purchasing Consortium (HECPC). The HECPC is the
country’s largest higher education purchasing consortium and represents the
California Community College System, the University of California System,
and more than 1,500 other member colleges throughout the United States.
- The launch of a new site with expanded course options for students.
The enhanced SMARTHINKING service features a redesigned, more easily
navigable website; an entirely new user-interface; real time support in
grammar, mathematics, economics, accounting, statistics and psychology; and
an Online Writing Lab for all courses.
About Collier Investments
Collier Investments, Ltd. is a private investment company based in Naples,
Florida. Collier has investments in a number of educational technology
companies, including Carnegie Learning, Inc., an educational software
company based in Pittsburgh.
About Steve Walker Associates
Steve Walker & Associates (SWA) helps emerging companies grow and thrive in
today’s rapidly changing environment through the unique combination of seed
capital and business consulting services. SWA’s Walker Investment Funds
invest seed and early-stage money in software and Internet-based technology
companies with a sound business concept coupled with leading-edge
technology. SWA can be found online at www.stevewalker.com.
About Calvert Ventures
Calvert Group is one of the largest mutual fund complexes in the Washington
D.C. area with approximately $6.7 billion in assets under management among
approximately 25 mutual fund portfolios. Best known for its family of
socially responsible mutual funds, Calvert Group has a full line of funds
that allows individual and institutional investors to pursue a broad range
of investment objectives within a single fund family. Through its private
equity program Calvert invests in early-to-expansion stage private companies
with innovative, “solutions-oriented” products and services in education,
health, and the environment.
SMARTHINKING (www.smarthinking.com), a Washington, DC-based company,
provides around-the-clock, person-to-person online tutoring and academic
assistance for core courses and skills through the use of cutting-edge
technologies. Carefully screened and rigorously trained e-structors(tm)
currently offer real-time support in mathematics, economics, accounting,
statistics and psychology. SMARTHINKING also offers an Online Writing Lab
for all courses, Grammar and Brainstorming Help Desks, and independent study
resources. SMARTHINKING currently serves over 50 colleges and universities
across the nation.
(202) 543-5034 x 206