Paper Closes $270 Million Series D to Further Democratize Access to Academic Support
Feb 15, 2022, 08:00 ET
MONTREAL, Feb. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Paper, a leading software provider of unlimited, 24/7 academic support, announced today the closing of a $270 million USD Series D, featuring both a primary and secondary offering. The round was led by Sapphire and Softbank Vision Fund 2, with support from returning investors IVP, Salesforce Ventures, Framework Venture Partners, Bullpen Capital, Reach Capital, BDC Capital, and Red House Education.
The fundraise follows a year of unprecedented growth for Paper, which currently serves close to 2 million students—a significant bump from the one million mark following its Series C round. Since then, Paper has expanded its reach to nearly 30 states nationwide, grown its world-class team by over 300%, and partnered with some of the nation's largest and most prominent school districts.
Since 2014, the education company has strived to empower all students to achieve success with equitable access to academic support. In many school districts, the students with the means to afford private tutoring get ahead, while the vast majority struggle to afford it. By partnering with school districts instead of families, Paper puts personalized academic support within every student's reach.
"Remote learning during lockdowns accelerated digital adoption of education tools but also exposed a glaring divide in the experience for many students," said Ram Trichur, Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. "Paper is helping to support stretched public school systems to improve student outcomes by widening access to critical tutoring resources. We're delighted to be partnering with Philip Cutler and the team to build an enduring solution providing every student with an equal opportunity to excel academically."
As schools across the country continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Paper is a community solution helping leaders support students as well as tackle staffing challenges and teacher burnout—a long-existing issue that's only worsened in recent years. Teachers cannot—and should not—be on call 24/7 to meet the needs of every student. With Paper, tutors are ubiquitous, so teachers don't have to be.
"Every student deserves a quality education, but unfortunately the majority of schools lack the resources to meet the needs of all of their students. Since the onset of the pandemic, the issue has been magnified by prolonged remote education, resulting in unfinished learning and a decline in academic performance," said Rajeev Dham, Partner at Sapphire. "Sapphire is proud to partner with Paper, a mission-driven company that's helping all students have access to high quality academic support whenever they need it, making education more equitable for everyone."
Paper addresses the greatest challenges school districts face in implementing effective tutoring: cost, equity, and scale. School districts contract with Paper for a fixed price, unlimited usage model that uplifts their entire school community: students and families get equitable, on-demand support from multi-lingual tutors; teachers get the help of 24/7 online assistants to track student progress and personalize instruction; and administrators get the opportunity to deliver on critical strategic objectives.
Addison Davis, Superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools, FL, the seventh largest school district in the nation, said Paper has had an enormous impact on his community. "In a diverse district of our size, many learners simply do not have access to individualized tutoring on demand. Paper places knowledge directly into the hands of students—and at no cost to our families. Educational equity continues to be at the heart of everything we do in Hillsborough County Public Schools, and Paper strongly supports us in that mission," he said.
"I am humbled to have the support of our educational partners, our team, and our new and returning investors to propel Paper's mission of democratizing academic support," said Philip Cutler, CEO and Co-founder of Paper. "Every part of this investment will fuel the transformation of education at a systemic level. We look forward to partnering with more and more innovative school systems to level the playing field for all learners."
Paper partners with school districts to deliver 1:1 tutoring that is equitable, scalable, and cost-effective. Students get unlimited 24/7 live help and writing feedback, teachers get insights to tackle individual learning gaps, and administrators get actionable data to inform strategic decisions. Paper's multilingual tutors add an extra layer of support across all content areas and grade levels, in and out of the classroom—so students always have access to expert help exactly when, where, and how they need it. Paper supports some of the largest school districts in the nation, such as Clark County School District (NV), Hillsborough County Public Schools (FL), Boston Public Schools (MA), Atlanta Public Schools (GA), Columbus City Schools (OH), and Santa Ana Unified School District (CA).
Paper is privately funded with investments from Sapphire, Softbank Vision Fund 2, IVP, Framework Venture Partners, Bullpen Capital, Reach Capital, Google, Birchmere Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, BDC Capital, and more. For more information, visit www.paper.com or follow Paper on Twitter: @paperlearning.
Sapphire is a leading global technology-focused venture capital firm with more than $8.8 billion in AUM and team members across Austin, London, New York, Palo Alto and San Francisco. For more than two decades, Sapphire has partnered with visionary management teams and venture funds to help scale companies of consequence. Since its founding, Sapphire has invested in more than 170 companies globally (b) resulting in more than 30 IPOs and 45 acquisitions. (c) The firm's investment strategies — Sapphire Ventures, Sapphire Partners and Sapphire Sport — are focused on scaling companies and venture funds, elevating them to become category leaders. Sapphire's Portfolio Growth team of experienced operators delivers a strategic blend of value-add services, tools and resources designed to support portfolio company leaders as they scale. To learn more about Sapphire, visit: https://sapphireventures.com.
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