Tract, an EdTech platform where students can make hands-on videos for class projects, recently announced that it has raised $7 million in seed funding.
The round was led by NEA, with the participation from Moving Capital, Oceans Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, K50 Ventures, G9 Ventures, Graph Ventures, Alumni Ventures Group, Minerva, and Correlation Ventures.
According to the company's statement, the fresh capital will be used for expanding into more schools, and it has launched its first collection of project-based lesson plans across math, English language arts, science, social studies, and art. It also plans to remain free for teachers to use in their classrooms.
Co-founded by an ex-Uber product lead Ari Memar and his former high school teacher Esther Wojcicki in 2020, Tract enables students and teachers learn through making and sharing educational videos within a safe web-based platform that other kids and teachers can engage with through likes and comments. Kids of all ages can use Tract, but most of the students using the platform are between 3rd and 8th grade.
With Tract, students sharpen their critical thinking skills and solve real-world problems as they learn, teach, create, and share their own multimedia content. All kid-created content on the platform is interactive, with built-in commenting, liking, and sharing features, as well as gamification, awards, and live community events that keep students excited and engaged.
At the time, Memar was working as a product lead at Uber, but was looking to find a way to pursue his true passion for early education. He wasn't sure of how he could make the biggest difference until he reconnected with Wojcicki through her nonprofit organization. He realized he could use his background in tech to help her reach more students with her hands-on, project-based style of teaching.
Speaking about the company, Co-founder & CEO of Tract, Ari Memar, said:
"I was talking to her about the things she was doing, like giving kids a lot of trust and respect to work on real-world projects, that’s when the light bulb went off for him. The number one thing kids want to be is a YouTube or TikTok creator. They aspire to be creators because they want to be creative, famous and teach."
The two decided to build up a secure, kid-friendly website, where teachers could upload lesson plans and kids could make video projects for their classes where they could also be teaching other Tract users with their educational videos.
Adding further about the company, Co-founder of Tract, Esther Wojcicki, said:
"Teachers are overworked and understaffed. Parents are busy. Kids are not getting prepared for future jobs. My goal with Tract is to help make it easy for anyone, anywhere to prepare their kids for success."
Based in San Francisco, Tract provides a safe and secure space for kids to feel empowered and express themselves. It's strong compliance practices and moderation have earned the privilege of serving schools and parents across the globe.
According to Memar, by the end of 2020, the prototype was up and running, and throughout 2021, Tract started to attract lots of attention from teachers across the US. It really picked up steam during the pandemic as parents and teachers were looking for educational content kids could use online, and investors started taking notice.
To date, Tract already has over 30,000 members and 100,000 video projects uploaded to the site, and is currently operating in 48 states and 20 countries. The startup had raised a small pre-seed round in 2021.