iPad Learning Firm Inkling Gets Multi-Million Dollar Funding from Educational Giants

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Textbooks based on the iPad gained a boost Wednesday. Interactive learning developer Inkling announced a “multi-million dollar financing” deal with two educational publishing giants. McGraw-Hill and Pearsons became minority investors in the San Francisco-based company which produces software enabling students to interact with iPad-based textbooks.

“Until now, digital textbooks have failed to gain real traction because they add little value over the printed book,” Inkling founder and CEO Matt MacInnis said. Inkling’s software allows readers to add comments and share textbooks with friends. “We build every textbook from the ground up for the iPad to create a more engaging learning experience,” MacInnis adds.

Sequoia Capital, Sherpalo Ventures, Felicis Ventures and Kapor Capital also reportedly were involved in the funding.

Inkling isn’t the first software developer hoping to link textbook publishers with the iPad as a new learning platform. In early 2010 we reported on Scrollmotion attracting publishers’ attention. The company adapts existing books for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Both McGraw-Hill and Pearson were involved in Scrollmotion’s creation of e-text books.

Of course, McGraw-Hill may be best known for spilling the beans about the original iPad to CNBC – a day before Apple CEO Steve Jobs was to officially announce the ground-breaking tablet. Naturally, such as faux pas caused the text-book publisher to be dropped from the list of companies invited to share the stage with the iPad’s unveiling.

Although the iPad is gaining traction in some classrooms, some in the publishing industry, as well as academia questioned the wisdom.

[San Jose Business Journal]