We’re only a month into the new year, but Packback has already achieved some major milestones in 2019! We’ve moved to a new space, doubled our sales team and added a new round of capital which will be used to continue our mission of fueling lifelong curiosity. Plus, we have a lot of exciting goals for the rest of the year including growing our team, improving our platform and supporting our professors with research.
Packback Accepts a New Round of Capital
On Tuesday, January 29, Packback accepted $2.5 million in new capital as it grew revenue 2.4x in the past year. The funding round was led by University Ventures, the premier investor in education technology, with participation from Hyde Park Angels, a midwestern venture fund. The new capital will help Packback maintain its rapid growth as we continue to expand our user base. We expect more than half a million students at 200+ universities to have used Packback by the end of the 2019 academic year.
Continuing to Grow Our Team
At the start of 2019, Packback welcomed 27 new members to our sales team and has plans to welcome roughly 45 more team members in 2019!
Among the new employees, Packback welcomed Vice President of Sales, Roberto Torreggiani. Torreggiani spent nearly a decade as a professor-facing representative for Pearson & McGraw-Hill before becoming Director of Sales at iClicker. Most recently, Torreggiani had been the VP of Sales North America for Bibliotech Education, before joining Packback full time in January 2019.
Packback also welcomed board member Dr. James Caras, CEO of Catalyst Education and was previously the founder of Sapling Learning. Dr. Caras is a professor turned educational technology entrepreneur with executive leadership experience in the digital learning marketplace.
Moving to a New Home
With our team rapidly growing, we quickly ran out of space at our office in the South Loop. During the holiday break, we rented a Uhaul and moved into our new 15,000 sqft space at 55 E Jackson in Chicago’s Loop neighborhood. It was a lot of work, but we’re loving how our space is coming together and can’t wait to show it off during our upcoming Makespace and A More Curious Chicago events!
Supporting Professor Research
One of our goals for the new year is supporting professors in their research on how the platform impacts outcomes such as critical thinking, curiosity, engagement and student writing skills. Dr. Kathleen West from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte recently presented research, highlighting Packback’s role in improving student critical thinking and writing at the NITOP 2019 conference and has also submitted for publication.
Dr. West has been using Packback with her students for multiple semesters and was excited that her research affirmed that using this technology improved students’ scientific writing and written exam scores. From a teaching perspective, Dr. West has repeatedly noted that “Packback allows professors to spend time teaching rather than policing the discussion forum. Since the artificial intelligence ensures a minimum quality for each post, professors can then come in and give suggestions for improvement or praise really good ideas and encourage others to do similarly.” Packback’s growth will help more professors scale personalized coaching and improve students’ critical thinking skills and quality of writing.
Packback Questions Updates
This term, Packback will be rolling out new updates on our platform Packback Questions; Feed Sorting and Small Groups. With Feed sorting, students will have several new ways to sort and order questions so they can easily find the best, most thought-provoking content! Section Small Groups will allow students to participate with the entire class or filter their experience on Packback to only include students from their own section.
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