Educational technology startup
says it expects to wrap up its second round of angel financing of $5 million by the middle of this year and is tripling its staff of five. The downtown Baltimore company is hiring seven salespeople, three support staff and a chief financial officer.
In its first round of angel financing last year, 1sqbox raised $330,000, to get the company off the ground, CEO Granville Templeton III says. After its second round of angel financing, 1sqbox will seek venture capital.
The company sells Android-based tablets to school systems for kindergarten through 12th grades. The tablets have proprietary software geared for administrators and for teachers and students. Templeton bills the company as a “one-stop shop” for educators.
“We use the school system’s and/or other companies’ educational content. We are the platform” for the content, says Templeton, who cofounded the company with chairman and CTO Alexis Coates in 2011.
The same tablet is used for all grades. Every student in a class gets a tablet. Via his or her tablet, the teacher inputs lesson plans and other material like textbooks, quizzes, homework assignments and comments.
“It’s an intuitive management system that allows teachers to use technology for their classrooms,” says Templeton.
School principals can monitor teachers via the tablet. A software platform allows them to view teachers’ lesson plans, assignments and other information.
Templeton says 1sqbox is in the process of refining its software for easier use. It is also adapting its platform for district-wide use. “Now, each school can monitor itself. We are adapting it so each school in a district can be monitored,” he says.
Last year, 1sqbox launched a pilot program in City Springs Middle School, a charter school in East Baltimore. The Abell Foundation funded the purchase of 100 tablets. Templeton says the tablets average $349 each, depending on amount ordered.
Dr. Walter Amprey, former superintendent of Baltimore City Public Schools, this year became associated with 1sqbox, “to introduce the company to school systems around the country,” says Templeton.
The company sells directly to school districts, which then distribute the tablets to users. The marketing focus so far has been Baltimore City and Maryland along with nearby states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
Templeton says 1sqbox has contracts with six schools, among them four in Baltimore City and two in Tennessee. The Baltimore schools are City Springs Middle School, Heritage High School, Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women and Rosemont Elementary and Middle School. The tablets stay at the school, and do not go home with the students.
Source: Granville Templeton, III, 1sqbox LLC
Writer: Barbara Pash