Relay Ventures leads $11.6 mln Series A funding of FreshGrade

Canadian education technology startup FreshGrade has secured $11.6 million in a Series A financing. The round was led by Canadian venture capital firm Relay Ventures with participation from Reach Capital, Accel Partners and Emerson Collective. Based in Kelowna, British Columbia, FreshGrade provides an educational resource for teachers, parents and administrators that allows for maximum classroom engagement and real-time assessment. Founded in 2011 by CEO Lane Merrifield and Steve Wandler, the company’s technology is today used in 70 countries. FreshGrade’s Series A round brings its total fundraising so far to $15.9 million.

Photo (standing left to right): FreshGrade Co-Founders Steve Wandler and Lane Merrifield.


FreshGrade Raises an Additional $11.6 Million to Connect Teachers, Parents and Students

May 10, 2016 – FreshGrade, one of the fastest growing education platforms for teachers, parents and students, has finalized an $11.6 million Series A round led by Relay Ventures and including Reach Capital, Accel Partners and Emerson Collective. The Series A round brings FreshGrade’s total funding to $15.9 million.

Today, FreshGrade is used by more than one million teachers, parents and students in 70 countries worldwide and in all 50 U.S. states. The additional funding will help fuel the success of FreshGrade’s customers and growth for FreshGrade.

“We truly believe in the mission of FreshGrade and are proud to continue our support for them,” said Jennifer Carolan, cofounder and general partner at Reach Capital. “It is vital that assessments align to a more holistic approach to teaching
and learning. FreshGrade responds to this need with a beautifully-designed solution that not only engages parents, but truly supports and celebrates a child’s growth.”

The idea for FreshGrade started with one word: nothing—the answer every parent hears when they ask the question, “What did you do at school today?” Serving as a window into the classroom, FreshGrade’s learning collaboration system captures, documents and communicates progress through digital learning portfolios, thus improving outcomes for all students.

With FreshGrade, teachers and students can easily capture learning artifacts from the classroom—including videos, pictures, audio recordings, links, documents and notes—and upload them to an online portfolio where parents, students and other teachers can access them. Teachers can also map learning objectives to assessments and activities to ensure lessons are focused and early intervention strategies can be created for struggling students.

FreshGrade was co-founded in 2011 by Lane Merrifield and Steve Wandler. Merrifield also co-founded Club Penguin, the highly popular social site for kids, which sold to Disney for $350 million in 2007. Wandler founded, which was acquired by SupportSoft, Inc., and became the No. 1 ranked Online Tech Support Company in North America.

“Despite the advances in technology, we noticed that teachers and districts struggled with a lack of awareness and engagement among parents and the issue of impactful engagement remained unsolved,” said Merrifield. “FreshGrade is the solution, as it presents the opportunity for teachers, parents, and students to move beyond simple report cards and truly follow and understand throughout the year how the child is developing and improving.”

FreshGrade’s platform has enabled the creation of digital portfolios for students that have generated more than 3 million artifacts to date. Teachers, schools and districts incorporating FreshGrade are seeing that students are performing better and are more engaged in their learning.

“FreshGrade has allowed us to continue building upon our already strong foundation of parent-teacher communication in a way that further strengthens parent involvement and improves student achievement,” said Wanny Hersey, superintendent at Bullis Charter School. “Personalized learning is the cornerstone of Bullis. Incorporating FreshGrade in the classrooms helps us better understand the specific challenges students are facing, cultivate a goal-oriented plan, and seamlessly communicate their progression over time.”

FreshGrade continually offers a robust list of unique features for teachers, parents and students who can access FreshGrade from any modern web browser, download the free FreshGrade app on any iOS or Android device, and install a fully compatible app to their Chromebooks. FreshGrade is the most sophisticated and robust portfolio and assessment suite available for iPad. A paid administration version of FreshGrade with custom integrations that provides school and district administrators with a view of the collective progress and engagement of their users in real-time is also available. For more information about FreshGrade, please visit

About FreshGrade

FreshGrade was founded in 2011 by Lane Merrifield and Steve Wandler, and is headquartered in Kelowna, British Columbia. Designed by world-class developers in collaboration with teachers and parents, FreshGrade is an education resource for teachers, parents and administrators that mirrors how people communicate and use technology today, opening a window into the classroom to ensure maximum student engagement and progress. FreshGrade’s mission is to focus on the minimizing the challenges facing teachers in the 21st century classroom and providing opportunities to streamline lesson planning and assessment, as well as allow for more time spent working with students and communicating with parents.

Learn more at or connect with FreshGrade on Facebook or Twitter @FreshGrade.

Media Contact
Greta Snell, Dittoe PR on behalf of FreshGrade, or 317-202-2280 XT 29

Photo courtesy of FreshGrade