Angela Swartz/Daily Journal
Nic Borg, co-founder and chief product officer of Edmodo, right, works with Dan Carew senior product manager at Edmodo.
Being named as one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” two years in a row is no small feat, but that’s the case of San Mateo startup Edmodo’s Nic Borg who even placed number one on the list this year.
“Both times it was exciting for the team to get recognized,” Borg said who is co-founder and chief product officer of the edtech company. “And to spread what’s happening to classrooms.”
Borg, 27, and his company have had a good last few years. In 2012, Edmodo raised $25 million, bringing Edmodo’s total funding raised to $57 million. Founded in 2008, Edmodo is free and provides teachers, administrators, parents and students a secure place to connect and collaborate, share and compare content and educational applications, and access homework, grades, tests, class discussions and notifications. Edmodo also offers a platform for app developers. There are now about 600 apps from which the company takes a revenue share.
“I’m always extremely excited and amazed by how they’re (teachers) spreading it to other teachers,” said Borg, who grew up in the Midwest and is married.
“San Mateo is the perfect spot to attract talent from San Jose and San Francisco,” said Borg who lives in Foster City. “We loved the atmosphere here. There are a lot of options for going out to lunch.”
Edmodo is different from other edtech startups since it works at a much larger scale than others.
“They were all lonely islands,” he said. “Ours is very teacher-centric and we want to get teachers working on the same things connected. That all comes from getting a very large network.”
Edmodo is what brought Borg, who has a computer science and education background, out to California in the first place. Borg met his co-founder Jeff O’Hara through O’Hara’s wife, who taught at the same school Borg worked at and was also his high school biology teacher. The two co-founders decided they wanted to build projects to help students and teachers. Borg also has an education background, as his father worked in universities and his mom taught as well.
“Seeing how connected everyone was outside of the classroom and how you got back into the past when you go in,” he said. “We wanted to help them see how they can engage students and share what content is effective.”
Edmodo has helped Borg for his personal growth, he said.
“Edmodo’s been my graduate school,” he said.
With the shift to Common Core standards in California and 44 other states, there will be more project-based and team collaborative learning in schools. There is also the new Smarter Balance testing, which aligns with these new standards, that will go into effect during the 2014-15 school year.
“We’re focused on providing tools teachers need to best leverage the transition,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for us to help.”
For now, the company is focused on “unlocking of the power of the world’s largest learning network.” Borg wants teachers to be able to turn feedback from one another into actionable items.
“People have a real belief that moving the needle in K-12 education makes society’s problems so much easier,” he said.
To learn more about Edmodo or to sign up for the service, visit edmodo.com.
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