Industry News

SEL Platform Gets Funding to Expand Nationwide

A company that produces a tech-powered social-emotional learning solution will be expanding its distribution, after a thousand students have used it in Minnesota. EmpowerU has received $1 million in seed funding to take its program nationwide, for licensing by middle schools, high schools and colleges.

Participating students receive daily online lessons and one-on-one motivational coaching as nudges for improving their emotional wellbeing, attendance and grades.

Use of the semester-long online program takes about 20 to 30 minutes each day. According to the company, that "daily blend" of support can decrease the need for more costly interventions. The approach is aligned with CASEL and national health and wellness standards, enabling students who finish all six units of the course to be eligible to receive a semester wellness credit from participating schools.

The new round of funding was led by Capita3, a Twin Cities venture firm with a focus on women-led organizations. EmpowerU was co-founded by Katie Dorn, a former K-12 school counselor and therapist, and Abby Master, a social cognition coach with a master's degree in communication sciences and disorders.

Additional investors included ECMC Foundation and GreatNorth Labs.

"I know how desperate educators are for cost-effective tools that actually help students overcome struggle," said Dorn, in a press release. "Although most students are unable to control their barriers, EmpowerU helps them navigate obstacles and come out the other side stronger. Students build hope that despite their difficult circumstances, they can feel better and thrive, today and in the future."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.