Pear Deck Secures $4 Million Funding to Revolutionize Classroom Presentations

A cluster of innovative startups has taken on the admirable mission of revolutionizing classroom presentations beyond traditional PowerPoint slides. Among the recent entrants is Pear Deck, which successfully concluded a Series A funding round amounting to $4 million, primarily led by Growth Street Partners. Notably, existing investors like Village Capital, Hyde Park Venture Partners, and AOL co-founder Steve Case also contributed to this funding. With this latest round, the Iowa City-based startup has now amassed a total of $5.2 million in funding.

Established in 2014, Pear Deck empowers educators to craft and distribute dynamic digital presentations infused with multimedia elements. Students can easily access these presentations through their devices and actively engage by responding through text, drawings, and various interactive features. The platform enables the display of students’ responses in real-time, either anonymously on the classroom screen or privately on the teacher’s dashboard. Compatible with most web browsers on both desktop and mobile devices, Pear Deck unfortunately does not support Internet Explorer.

A key strength of Pear Deck lies in its seamless integration with Google’s educational tools such as G Suite for Education and Google Classroom. This integration allows students to conveniently log in using their Google accounts, and Pear Deck files can be effortlessly shared across teachers’ and students’ Google Drive folders.

The genesis of Pear Deck can be traced back to the challenges faced by two of its co-founders, who were former classroom educators themselves, in maintaining student engagement. Michal Eynon-Lynch, the company’s Chief Educator and Operating Officer, shared in an interview, “The task of monitoring and assisting 15 students daily to ensure they weren’t stuck was monumental.” She further explained that the playful name “Pear Deck” is a play on words derived from the “pair” aspect of the teaching technique “think-pair-share,” commonly employed in classrooms for collaborative activities.

In addition to their educational backgrounds, Pear Deck’s team boasts entrepreneurial experience. Prior to founding Pear Deck, Eynon-Lynch and two other co-founders developed an online gradebook that was later acquired by Haiku Learning in 2013. (Haiku Learning was subsequently acquired by PowerSchool in 2016.)

A basic version of Pear Deck is available for free, offering limited functionalities for creating and sharing slide decks. Enhanced features, including a real-time dashboard for monitoring student responses and a “Takeaways” tool for assigning personalized homework, are accessible through individual subscription plans starting at $99 per year. Bulk and school-wide licenses come with discounted rates.

According to co-founder and President Anthony Showalter, Pear Deck boasts “hundreds of thousands of users” across over 40 states and 13 countries, with revenue witnessing a triple-digit growth year over year, although specific financial details were not disclosed.

Pear Deck is not the sole contender in the endeavor to enhance K-12 classrooms with interactive digital content. Eynon-Lynch acknowledged that Pear Deck is sometimes compared to Nearpod, another platform offering similar functionalities that recently secured substantial venture funding.

The fresh funding will fuel Pear Deck’s initiatives to enhance its product offerings and expand its workforce, currently comprising 15 employees. As part of the funding agreement, Stephen Wolfe, co-founder of Growth Street Partners, and Victoria Fram, co-founder and Managing Director of Village Capital, will join Pear Deck’s Board of Directors.

Wolfe expressed enthusiasm about Pear Deck’s founding team, which combines teaching experience with startup expertise, stating, “We are excited about the wave of one-device-to-one-student adoption and particularly the widespread acceptance of G Suite and Google Classroom in districts nationwide.”

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