Startup of the Year Finalist Raises $22.5 Million to Transform University Engagement

Top Hat, the interactive, cloud-based teaching platform provider, announced today it has raised USD $22.5 million in Series C financing.

Today’s financing will enable Top Hat to accelerate the development of new solutions for creating and distributing academic content, finally providing a viable alternative to overpriced textbooks.

“Textbook publishing is often seen as a ‘bad’ business for how it treats professors and financially drains students,” said Mike Silagadze, co-founder and CEO, Top Hat.

“We’re seeing this bankrupt strategy play out right now in Pearson’s recent struggles, widely credited to a lack of digital integrations and the underestimation of tech’s impact on higher ed. At Top Hat, our goal is to make teaching fun and effective. We’re fortunate to have found a group of investors who are very founder-friendly, respect the progress we’ve made to date, and can guide us as we continue to displace traditional textbook publishers and improve student performance.”

With this financing Union Square Ventures joins Top Hat’s existing investors Emergence Capital, Georgian Partners, iNovia Capital, Golden Venture Partners, Version One Ventures and SoftTech VC.

Albert Wenger, partner at Union Square Ventures, will join Top Hat’s Board of Directors as the company expands deeper into the $10 billion market for post-secondary academic content and teaching tools.

Universities and colleges have been slow to adapt to the digital revolution. As technology adoption increases on campuses, Top Hat’s teaching platform enables professors to deliver engaging content, tools and activities to students through their smartphones.

This funding is big news, particularly since 2016 was a weak year for Ed Tech funding. Generally speaking, Ed Tech has proven to be a tough vertical, primarily due to the fact that it’s hard to charge consumers (students) directly. And selling to institutions requires a long sales cycle.

“Ultimately, success comes down to the persistence and hustle of the founders. I’ve seen examples of this time and time again. And, there are very few people out there who can outhustle Mike Silagadze”, shared Boris Wertz, Managing Partner, Version One Ventures.

Top Hat is a finalist in the Startup of the Year category in the 2016 Canadian Startup Awards and is actively hiring now.