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Education Startup Remind101 Nabs Kleiner-Led $15 Million

Remind101 Inc., a free mobile messaging service for teachers, raised $15 million in a funding round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as the company works to attract users looking for simpler ways to communicate at schools.

The San Francisco-based company is adding John Doerr, a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins, to its board in the financing round that also includes existing investors The Social+Capital Partnership and First Round Capital. Remind101, which has raised almost $20 million in total, said it will use the money to expand staff and new products.

“This is just a simple, safe, secure service that works,” Doerr said in an interview. “They are going to build a great big, global, durable enterprise.”

Remind101 is benefiting from the rising demand for more technology tools in schools by letting teachers easily message parents and students with updates on items such as deadlines or assignment changes. The startup, which began in 2011, has attracted more than 600,000 teachers, or about 15 percent of those in the U.S., and about 10 million users overall, according to Brett Kopf, chief executive officer and co-founder.

“There’s an enormous opportunity, and I think that it really shows that we’re solving a real problem,” Kopf said in an interview. He declined to comment on the company’s valuation.

Remind101, which counts Yuri Milner among its early investors, has about 15 people on staff and that could expand to 35 to 40 by the end of the year, Kopf said.

The service has privacy features, such as hiding phone numbers from teachers and students. After a message is sent, students and parents can’t reply, eliminating the need to manage another mailbox.

While the company doesn’t make any revenue from its service, it’s looking at how to make money in the next 18 months or so, Kopf said. That could mean charging school administrations or parents for extra features, he said. Those services could include help with permission slips or handling payment transactions for school activities.

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