The former chancellor of New York City’s public school system, Harold Levy, is now an early stage venture capital investor. Today Late Night Labs, an online education startup, announced it was raising $1.1 million from a group of angel investors including Mr. Levy.
Late Night Labs offers a virtual laboratory where students can conduct chemistry and biology experiments. At a time when schools around the country are being forced to make tough budget decisions, it provides a useful replacement for expensive “wet” labs that rely on real chemicals. Plus, there is way less chance one of the teachers will go rogue and start dealing meth.
One part of Late Night Labs that sticks out is that students can pay for the course directly. This lets late night labs skip the slow, bureaucratic purchase cycles of big educational institutions. It’s the same approach being taken by Coursekit, which just debuted to the public. The idea there is to gain traction among teachers and students, then perhaps push into the market for institutional licenses.
Right now Late Night Labs is being used in more than 150 schools around the country and hopes to expand its staff in New York from five to twelve employees.
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