Legends of Learning, an education technology company in Baltimore and Washington, has raised $9 million to expand the reach of its game-based learning program.
Those putting money into the company include the Baltimore Angels, a group of locally based investors, and other unnamed institutional and private investors.
Legends of Learning works with game developers to design short games based on science curriculum that teachers in fifth through ninth grades can use in the classroom. The company offers 900 games, each between five and 25 minutes long, by 300 developers.
"Game developers have figured out something about human psychology that, largely, educators have not — how to engage kids," Joshua Goldberg, the company's chief strategy officer.
Legends of Learning was founded in 2016 by Goldberg and Vadim Polikov, founders of Astrum Solar, the Howard County solar installation company that was acquired by Direct Energy for $54 million in 2014. Sandy Roskes, who worked with Goldberg and Polikov at Astrum Solar; Geoff Livingston; Aryah Fradkin, and Larry Cynkin are also founders of Legends of Learning.
About 4,000 teachers across the country, including in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, have signed up to use the free version of the program, which gives teachers access to all the games. Through a dashboard feature, teachers can observe students playing, track how well they are doing and create individualized playlists.
The company will start selling the program to schools and districts in May. It costs schools $10 per student, with a maximum per-building price of $10,000. Prices varies for districts that buy the program for all its schools.
Schools that buy the program get enhanced features, such as more tracking and analytics tools.
With the new funding, Legends of Learning plans to add at least 10 employees to its staff of 20 by the end of the year to support marketing outreach as the company looks to get its program into more schools.
"We had an idea, we tested it, we built the product," Goldberg said. "Now it's about getting the product out."
The funding will also go toward technology development. While the games are designed to complement middle-school science curriculum, the company wants to expand its offerings to include games for kindergarteners through high school seniors. Goldberg said the company also wants to expand to other subjects.