Fast-growing ed tech firm Pear Deck has plucked a $4 million investment as it plans to expand the use of its student engagement platform.
The Iowa City-based firm — which operates a sales and marketing office in Kansas City — raised the capital from Growth Street Partners and existing investors, including Village Capital, Hyde Park Venture Partners and Steve Case, founder of Rise of the Rest. Nick De Buyl, Pear Deck’s vice president of sales, said that the capital will largely be spent on marketing its product more directly to teachers, as well as adding key hires.
Pear Deck’s tool enables a teacher to build a live, interactive presentation of a lesson with a slide deck platform that’s similar to PowerPoint. The tool allows teachers to pose questions during a lesson that every student responds to on tablets or laptops. Pear Deck then aggregates the answers for either anonymous viewing as a class or private viewing for teachers.
De Buyl said the added capital further proves that Pear Deck’s tech is fruit ripe for the market.
“This is a validation of the model that we have,” he said. “This is a nice market and we’ve proven that we have a product that has value and we have the capabilities to turn that from a cool product to a sticky product people will pay for.”
De Buyl said that the firm’s marketing efforts hope to make more direct inroads with teachers that would be using the platform. Such teachers often serve as advocates and spur more people in the educational ecosystem to use the platform. Ultimately, De Buyl said the company wants to be positioned to serve entire school districts, from students to superintendents.
Pear Deck opened a Kansas City sales office in July and has continued its growth around the nation. The firm’s KC office is located in the Kansas City Startup Village, which is offering it a community of like-minded entrepreneurs willing to help lend ideas and support.
“For Pear Deck, Kansas City has given us more exposure in the tech scene,” he said. “We love the area. For the talent we’ve been able to attract, it’s been a perk to be here. It’s much easier to hire people here than Corporate Woods. …The Village has been great. Our staff says ‘It’s only two miles from my house, it’s close to great restaurants and we get to mingle with other entrepreneurs.’”
Pear Deck’s lead investor, San Francisco-based Growth Street Partners, will be adding two board of director seats with the new round of capital. Growth Street co-founder Nathan Grossman said he’s thrilled to be furthering the fund’s investment in the promising ed tech company.
“Growth Street is very excited to partner with Pear Deck,” Grossman said in a release. “The Growth Street partnership will help extend Pear Deck’s reach, engage more students, and improve educational outcomes. Built by educators, it is not surprising students, teachers, principals, and superintendents across the country all love Pear Deck.”
Founded in 2014, Pear Deck has 16 staffers in total and has raised more than $5 million in capital.