Grockit, a San Francisco startup which raised $2.7m several years ago to seed their game project has taken down an $8m B-round according to Ed Tech Design’s Sari Follansbee, who brought this to my attention today, and the company’s own press release:
Integral Capital Partners lead the $8M round with Benchmark Capital, who lead their Series A, participating as well. Grockit is creating a MMOLG (Massively Multi Player Online Learning Game) where people can connect to learn from each other. The company was founded by Farbood Nivi, a long time teacher, and Michael Buffington, a well known Rails developer. Grockit will use the latest financing to expand their development team and they plan to launch their first product this fall.
Though they’re playing their cards very close to the vest they have disclosed an intention to build a virtual world learning community — what they call as MMOLG or Massive Multiplayer Online Learning Game — and obviously have their investors vote of confidence.
While conceptually this may not be far from Chris Dede’s River City (Harvard) or Sasha Barab’s Quest Atlantis (Indiana University), I suspect that as a commercial enterprise the tech will offer much more robust playability. And unlike these academic efforts, or Nt Etuk’s immersive Dimension, the investors and level of funding suggests Grockit intention is to be a full-on commercial MMOG for the educational market. If they launch in the fall as announced it’ll be a benchmark worth watching.
For more news — though not solid product information — there are posts on Tech Crunch as well as the company’s blog and Twitter feed that you may want to peruse. And if nothing else, they’ve clearly taken a clue from Steve Jobs’ play book whose lock-down in advance of Apple’s product releases is legend.