Start-up Silverback Learning Solutions Announces $2.5M Round

Boise Start-up Silverback Learning Solutions Announces $2.5M Round To Transform K-12 Education with Student Achievement Platform; Appoints Works of Grace Foundation Co-Founder & Education Philanthropist, Benjamin Wood to Board

BOISE, Idaho–(via BUSINESS WIRE)–Silverback Learning Solutions (www.silverbacklearning.com), an educator-founded technology company and developer of Mileposts™, a results-driven instructional improvement system installed in schools K-12 nationwide, today announced that it has secured financing of $2.5 million from angel investors to allow the company to expand its operations and accelerate its product development. Founded by Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Jim Lewis, an educator for over 40 years, the company also announced the appointment of Works of Grace FoundationCo-founder & Education Philanthropist, Benjamin Wood, to the Board of Directors. The SaaS Mileposts platform, which allows for quick product release iterations, allows teachers to focus on the needs of each individual student while retaining the classroom structure, an education model that will transform K-12 education.

“Schools across the nation continue to strive for improved student outcomes through improved staff collaboration and efficiency, better access to data to inform instructional decisions, added structure and cohesiveness for Response to Intervention (RtI) processes, and more transparent and consistent benchmarking methods to discern student progress,” said Dr. Jim Lewis, CEO of Silverback Learning Solutions. “We are very pleased to finalize our next funding round and welcome Benjamin to our Board as we expand the Mileposts platform into other states, streamlining the process of making it easier for teachers to personalize education, support peers and students where necessary, and bring the parents back to the table of accountability where research has proven they need to be in order to affect achievement gains necessary to fulfill each child’s academic potential.”

Platform Key Differentiators

Mileposts is currently used in 30% of the school districts in the state of Idaho and in districts across 13 U.S. states.
The platform’s entire purpose is to maximize achievement for all students, while making sure that not one individual student falls through the cracks. To support that objective, Mileposts features a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) dashboard, so that teachers and leaders can compare students, classes, or groups to overall school performance and district performance. Teachers can gather results, see comparisons, and identify specific students that meet certain criteria, all with one view that takes teachers where they need to go in a single click.
Fast iterations is a key piece of Silverback Learning’s business and culture and has rapidly iterated exactly one code base, pushing new features quickly and in small packages, and then letting customers communicate what works and what doesn’t, and achieve customization goals for a district through user configuration options (a hallmark of SaaS software,) instead of code changes that allows custom code branches to slow down fast iteration.
Silverback Learning Solutions recently partnered with LinkIt! (www.linkit.com), a K-12 education technology, assessment and data-management company and Gooru (www.goorulearning.org), a search engine for learning. The combination of these tools (Silverback, Gooru, and LinkIt!) work seamlessly together through single sign-on capabilities on Mileposts.
Mileposts allows teachers to pinpoint the exact educational areas where students individually struggle-and through the integration of Gooru’s content, teachers can fill these gaps with personalized, web-based educational resources that align with Common Core and state Standards.  Mileposts combines Linkit!’s formative and summative assessment, which is easy and flexible for teachers to manage in a classroom while students are assimilating knowledge. Leveraging Gooru’s search capabilities, Mileposts enables educators to identify individual student needs and immediately suggest the most appropriate and high-quality learning materials available and combine these tools to organize resources into playlists for learning, teachers now have the new “triple play ” for student success.

Management Team:
• Dr. Jim Lewis, CEO: 40 year educator spanning teacher to superintendent; 2005 Idaho Superintendent of the Year; 2009 National “What Parents Want” Award; former CEO of two successful, small businesses.
• Rudi Lewis, COO: 15 years in engineering/marketing roles for Hewlett-Packard, including HP’s Customer Contact Manager suite (bought by Cisco); Founder of successful, startup Internet auto sales business.
• Amy Bailey, CFO: 20 years with private and public, high-growth, technology companies (Extended Systems, ProClarity, Microsoft) and private equity firm; 8 years with “Big 8” public accounting firm.
• Jeff Smith, Chief Architect: 35 years of experience in systems architecture, databases and software engineering for corporations including Environmental News Network and Groupstone, Inc.
• Jim Luthi, National Sales Director: 20 years in education, consulting school districts and other entities to improve their data driven decision-making abilities through the combination of software and data.

Board of Directors:
• Dr. Jim Lewis, CEO, Silverback Learning Solutions
• Rudi Lewis, COO, Silverback Learning Solutions
• Pete Thomas, Co-founder and Managing Director, ATA Ventures & Investor
• Phil Bradley, Technology Entrepreneur & Investor
• Benjamin Wood, Investor Manager & Co-founder/President, Works of Grace Foundation

About Silverback Learning Solutions
Silverback Learning Solutions empowers educators to drive intentional instruction for greater achievement in all students. Built in the classroom, Silverback’s Mileposts provides quick and easy access for teachers to build and share customized learning plans for each student, including collaborative Response to Intervention (RtI) management. For more information visit www.silverbacklearning.com.

About Works of Grace Foundation
Founded in 2000 by philanthropists, Benjamin Wood and Theresa Castellano-Wood, the Works of Grace Foundation provides support and inspiration to programs and organizations that make a difference in the lives of children and families. The non-profit organization began awarding scholarships to children in 2002 and since this time, nearly $1 million in grants have been given to the children of teachers in the Idaho’s Blaine County public schools system.


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Posted: June 12th, 2013