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Foreshadowing the new normal with remote learning

Foreshadowing the new normal with remote learning
July 28 2020

If you have graduated from college or high school in the past few years, you likely have heard of CS50. Unlike a normal college or high school class, CS50 is learned with friends watching video tutorials together. But once a year, you pay your pilgrimage to the CS50 Mecca, at Harvard University, to participate in a 3,000+ people hackathon. 

CS50 started a new online education revolution years before the pandemic and still remains the biggest remote learning empire. CS50 (Computer Science 50) is an on-campus and online introductory course on computer science taught at Harvard University and, as of 2015, Yale University as well. In 2016, CS50 became available to high school students as an AP course. The course material is available online for free on EdX with a range of certificates available for a fee. 

CS50 lectures are recorded and uploaded to several services including iTunes U, EdX, and YouTube. Additional video "walkthroughs" are recorded with professors and volunteer students. Course questions, called problem sets, or "psets" for short, are available in both PDF and HTML format. Students can upload problem set answers, and some questions are graded by automation. Students can also use special software to check their code in the cloud. In 2016, CS50 became the first university course to offer students the possibility to watch all lectures entirely in virtual reality.

CS50 has a decade of remote teaching and research experience. In transforming higher education, examples such as CS50 would pioneer a way to engage students and educators. 

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Higher Ed Remote Learning Startups:

Unruly Studios creates the only experience in the growing category of STEM products and services to integrate physically active play and coding with Unruly Splats, which are durable, programmable floor buttons that students in elementary through middle school can control through code. Students learn STEM literacy by using our block code language to change the lights, sounds, and collaborate to play active games like relay races, whack-a-mole. They can make their own rules and create new games with their own block code language inspired by Scratch. 

Examity is an online proctoring service that helps ensure the academic integrity of testing in online courses. Examity helps keep the setup, scheduling, and test-taking process simple while offering flexible scheduling options for online courses. Examity offers several monitoring levels, all of which use a webcam to monitor students as they take their exams online.

Top Hat is a student engagement platform that professors use inside and outside of the classroom. Top Hat provides a lecture tool that tracks attendance, asks questions, features interactive slides, and manages classroom discussions. Outside of the classroom, the platform features an InteractiveText platform where professors can adapt, customize, or create content for their courses. Using Top Hat, professors can engage their students using multiple question types, Discussions, and Tournaments with real-time feedback and Gradebook integration with Canvas.

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Since last week, PrivCo has added:
765 Profile Updates | 169 M&A Deals167 Funding Activities

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Mantl, a New York-based fintech company which helps banks and credit unions grow deposits and streamline back-office tasks, lands $19M. The fresh capital adds to an extended $11M Series A raise. Investors included Acorns-backer Point72 Ventures and Chime backer Clocktower Technology Ventures.

Exela Technologies, Inc. announces that it has completed the sale of its physical records storage and logistics business for a purchase price of $12.3M. The assets involved in the business generated approximately $1M of EBITDA in 2019.

FreightWaves, a daily media streaming network and data provider for the global freight market, raises $37M in two rounds of funding.

Viasat Inc., a global communications company, announces the closing of a $175M common stock investment from affiliates of Intercorp, and affiliates of The Baupost Group, L.L.C. ("Baupost"), Viasat's largest shareholder. Under the terms of the investment, the investors purchased an aggregate of 4,474,559 shares of common stock at a price of $39.11 per share, representing a premium of $1.00, or 2.6%, to Viasat's closing share price on July 22, 2020, and a 5.1% premium to Viasat's volume weighted average price over the 15 trading day period ending July 22, 2020.

Turbo Systems, the first universal, no-code engagement platform, announces a $3.45M extension to its $8M Series A funding round which initially closed in 2018. The extension comes as a result of the company’s continued momentum.

Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. and SmartPharm Therapeutics, Inc. sign a letter of intent for Sorrento to acquire SmartPharm, a gene-encoded therapeutics company developing non-viral DNA and RNA gene delivery platforms for COVID-19 and rare diseases, with broad potential for application in enhancing antibody-centric therapeutics. The transaction is expected to close in August 2020. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Mohr Capital, a Dallas-based privately held real estate investment firm, sells the first prototype facility for HERC Rentals in Fort Worth, Texas. HERC Rentals is a leading equipment rental supplier with approximately 275 locations in North America. The sale was made to the Fisch Grandchildren Trust.

Vilex, LLC, a member of the Squadron Capital family of businesses, announces that it has successfully completed the acquisition of DT MedTech, LLC, whose product lines include the Hintermann Series System™ Total Ankle Replacement (TAR), developed by prominent surgeon, Professor Beat Hintermann.

Repay Holdings Corporation, a leading provider of vertically-integrated payment solutions, announces the acquisition of cPayPlus, LLC for up to $16.0M, of which $8.0M was paid at closing. The remaining $8.0M may become payable in the third quarter of 2021, dependent upon the achievement of certain growth targets. The closing of the acquisition was financed with cash on hand and will not materially impact REPAY’s net leverage.

Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based investment firm, announces it has jointly entered into an agreement with technology entrepreneur and CrossFit gym owner Eric Roza to acquire CrossFit. In the 20 years since its founding, CrossFit has grown from a garage gym in Santa Cruz, California, to become a leading global health and fitness brand, improving the lives of millions of participants in more than 14,000 affiliated gyms across 158 countries. CrossFit also operates the annual CrossFit Open competition, which culminates in crowning the Fittest on Earth™ at the CrossFit Games.

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