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Texting and chatbot firm Ocelot raises $117M


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Dive Transient: 

  • Ocelot, a texting and chatbot firm for greater training establishments, introduced Wednesday that it has raised $117 million from K1 Funding Administration, which focuses on funding software program corporations. 
  • Earlier than K1’s funding, Ocelot had not taken outdoors funding. The funding can be used to gasoline progress, develop new companies for faculties and enhance present merchandise. 
  • The funding comes a number of years after Ocelot pivoted towards utilizing synthetic intelligence to create chatbots and texting companies for college students. Earlier than that, Ocelot acquired its begin by creating monetary support publications and movies for faculties. 

Dive Perception: 

The big funding comes at a time when ed tech funding is slowing down. Ed tech corporations are anticipated to complete the yr with round $17.4 billion in enterprise funding, down from about $20.8 billion final yr, in response to a current estimate from HolonIQ, a market evaluation agency. 

“K1 has deep expertise investing in EdTech and we’re empathetic to what universities and college students skilled throughout pandemic-related shutdowns the previous couple of years,” Brian Beard, vice chairman at K1, mentioned in an emailed assertion. “We strongly consider in supporting as many college students as attainable and Ocelot’s platform permits all college students to navigate college programs.”

Ocelot has shifted its focus all through its 20 years. Right now, the corporate is concentrated on texting and chatbot companies powered by AI. Schools can use the corporate’s platform in a number of methods, together with informing college students about their monetary support choices, contacting them about vital deadlines or connecting them to stay advisers. 

The platform provides two-way texting with college students, together with chatbots that combine with faculty programs. The corporate counts greater than 500 establishments as shoppers, together with the College of Florida and the College of California, Los Angeles. 

“We’re pleased with how we have now grown prior to now 20 years to grow to be a communications chief and a platform, and it’s labored very nicely,” mentioned Talin Andonians, Ocelot’s CEO. “We’ve been capable of gasoline our progress with our personal inside money stream. This funding permits us to speed up that progress.”

Ocelot is already targeted on pupil help, together with monetary support, enrollment and admissions. However Andonians mentioned there’s extra work to do “throughout the coed lifecycle.”

The funding comes at a time when enrollment is falling throughout greater training. The variety of college students taking courses has fallen round 7.4% because the pandemic started, representing about 1.3 million individuals, in response to the most recent figures from the Nationwide Pupil Clearinghouse Analysis Heart. 

“The ache continues to exist, and we’ll want extra innovation sooner or later,” Andonians mentioned. “We’re positioned rather well to try this and to proceed to serve the market.”

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