PALO ALTO -- Declara, a personalized education software company, announced Wednesday it has raised $16 million from investors.
The financing round was led by GSV Capital, which was joined by Data Collective, Founders Fund and Catamount, and brings Declara's total funding to $25 million. The company will use the investment to expand its data analytics program and grow its sales and development teams, said chief executive officer and co-founder Ramona Pierson.
Declara builds a technology platform that uses search tools and analytics to predict what the most appropriate content would be for a student at a given time, and generates personalized learning programs. The tool provides educators with information and analysis about how people learn, and uses social networks to help connect them to a colleague, blog post, publication or subject expert. Declara is used by school systems and education institutions in the U.S., Mexico, Chile and Australia.
Pierson launched Declara in 2012, almost three decades after she was nearly killed by a drunk driver in a hit-and-run that left her blind and her body shattered. She spent three years relearning how to speak and walk, and eventually recovered partial sight.
Pierson's recovery inspires much of what Declara aims to do -- personalize learning for any person at any stage of life. Pierson says learning happens long after students graduate and outside schools and universities. She taught herself most of the technical skills and computer programming skills she has today, and regained many of her cognitive abilities while recovering at a home for senior citizens.
"Declara is sort of this culmination of my life and it's sort of this carrying on from when I was at the senior citizens' center and really experienced personalized learning," Pierson said.
Declara hasn't gained much traction in the U.S. -- it's been most popular in Latin America -- but Pierson said more American universities are showing more interest in the software. Declara is on track to sign contracts with about a dozen U.S. universities.
"It is one foot in front of the other, not getting distracted by the successes we've had," Pierson said. "I'm thrilled; I'm humbled. I'm so exited for where we are today but also we need to keep our head down and put one foot in front of the other and continue this good path that we're on."
Declara has about 58 employees and is backed in part by Twitter co-founder Peter Thiel.
Contact Heather Somerville at 510-208-6413. Follow her at Twitter.com/heathersomervil.