SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Prisms VR, a learning platform pioneering a new paradigm for math education, today announced it raised $4.25MM in new Seed funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Hans Tung, Managing Director of GGV Capital, Nate Mitchell, co-founder of Oculus, and Andrew Sutherlund, founder of Quizlet.
Born out of the latest research in learning science, Prisms’ novel virtual reality (VR) experiences aim to radically improve student motivation and achievement by teaching students mathematics, spatiallythrough hands-on problem-solving before connecting to symbolic notation.
“Seventy-five percent of US high school seniors are not proficient in math because they were never able to find meaning and relevance in the modern math classroom. The fear and apathy they carry into college often stay with them for the rest of their lives. I started Prisms to transform these outcomes, by making math class relevant, inspiring and effective,” said Anurupa Ganguly, Founder and CEO of Prisms. “VR’s most powerful use case has always been education because of its ability to realize best practice teaching methods. At Prisms, we’re building the technical and operational infrastructure to make experiential learning a reality across K-12 institutions, and beyond.”
A graduate of MIT and trained at Teach for America, Ganguly served as a high school physics and math teacher before leading as an administrator in some of the largest education systems in the US, including the NYC Department of Education, Boston Public Schools and Success Academy Charter Schools.
Prisms VR is the first spatial learning platform that enables students to perceptually experience a real world context, before using tactile interactives and visualizations to build math fluency that are predictive of future engagement and success in STEM. Backed by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, Prisms’ platform leverages immersive virtual reality developed side-by-side with frontline teachers and district administrators.
Prisms currently serves dozens of school districts in the US and will use this financing to expand its reach to more than 100,000 students across 65 school districts in 15 states by the end of 2022. Prisms partners with school districts to deploy hardware to schools, train teachers for successful integration of VR, and works with leaders to drive improved learning outcomes, with a particular focus on their most underrepresented and marginalized students.
“Allowing students to physically interact with mathematical concepts, and experience their learning is creating a more innovative and exciting learning environment. Not only do they understand the math concepts more deeply, but they ask better questions, and have richer mathematical discussions with classmates and teachers,” said Dr. Lindsay Gilbert from Scottsdale Unified School District.
Director of Instructional Services in Montgomery County Educational Service Center, Candice Sears, shared, “Studies have shown that the average student remembers only 30% of what they see, 20% of what they hear, and 90% of what they experience. Prisms removes distractions through full immersion and elicits the student’s curiosity for further learning.”
To complement the in-classroom advantages the learning solution offers students, Prisms is preparing to release a new at-home learning solution later this year. Designed for students grades 7-12, these STEM content libraries and multiplayer experiences will foster collaborative problem-solving and high impact tutoring in lieu of drill and kill methods that have axed student motivation well before and during the Covid-19 school shutdown.
“When looking across the edtech ecosystem, it’s rare to find founders that have both a deep background in education as well as technical expertise and a Silicon Valley approach to scaling–Anurupa brings all of these traits to Prisms VR,” said Jeff Jordan, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, which led the Seed Round funding. “We’re thrilled to be supporting Prisms as they work to exponentially improve learning outcomes for students.”
Additional participating investors include WXR Fund, Anorak Ventures, Avalanche VC, Zahir Dossa, founder of function of beauty, among others.
If school districts are interested in implementing Prisms’ flagship middle school math, algebra and geometry VR learning experiences, please reach out. Parents and families can stay informed about the Prisms consumer launch by joining our newsletter. Follow Prisms news, announcements, and the latest from teachers and students using Prisms solutions in classrooms through Linkedin and Twitter.
Prisms, founded in 2020, is pioneering effective learning experiences in virtual reality. Backed by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, Prisms is the first spatial learning platform for K-12 STEM education, scaling a new way of learning core math and science that actualizes pedagogies that we know work best.