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Startup Class Technologies raises $105 million from SoftBank, others

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By Jane Lanhee Lee

(Reuters) - Class Technologies Inc, which makes tools for Zoom Video Communications Inc's platform to enhance online classes, said on Wednesday it raised $105 million in a funding round led by SoftBank Group Corp's Vision Fund 2.

The ed-tech start up was born during the pandemic as co-founder and CEO Michael Chasen saw the challenges of Zoom classes from his three children in public school. Chasen started his first education software business over 20 years ago called Blackboard, Inc. so was able to quickly get the company started with previous engineers he partnered with and big name investors.

"I think what you can expect to see over the next 12 to 18 months there is going to be more advancement in ed-tech than we've seen in the last five to 10 years," said Chasen.

He added that even with public schools returning to in-person learning, many will still choose to keep using technology in some way to avoid being "caught flat-footed again if there’s another pandemic".

Startups serving public schools have traditionally struggled to get big funding from venture capital, which sees the long sales cycle in the sector as a challenge. But the pandemic has started to change that. Chasen, who has worked extensively with public schools in his previous company, said public schools are a strong long-term opportunity, but said in the shorter-term there were big growth opportunities from corporate customers using the Class Technologies tools for employee training as well as demand from higher education.

Chasen declined to share the company's latest valuation.

(Reporting By Jane Lanhee Lee; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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