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Microsoft acquires ed-tech start-up spun out from U Minnesota

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: June 20th, 2018

Microsoft has acquired Flipgrid, a start-up spun out of the University of Minnesota that makes a video-sharing app for classrooms, for an undisclosed amount. The software giant will retain Flipgrid’s operations in Minneapolis and begin offering the start-up’s product for free.

University of Minnesota Learning Technologies Professor Charles Miller invented Flipgrid to engage students in his classroom. The product lets people create short videos around certain topics and easily share them.

Called Vidku when the start-up was launched three years ago, it raised $17 million in 17 days and brought on tech veteran Jim Leslie as CEO, as well as serial entrepreneur Phil Soran as executive chairman.

The company initially planned to target business customers, but scrapped that strategy and changed its name to Flipgrid, focusing solely on the education market. Today about 20 million students in 180 countries use the application, according to a Microsoft statement.

“We’re thrilled to see the impact Flipgrid has had in social learning thus far and look forward to helping them continue to thrive as part of the Microsoft family,” said Eran Megiddo, corporate vice president for Microsoft. “We have the opportunity to scale so we can support every educator across the globe as they empower student voice.”

A whopping 80 investors participated in Flipgrid’s $17 million funding round, most of them individuals. The University of Minnesota also retained a stake in the start-up.

Source: Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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