Kitchener-based Chalk.com has raised a $500,000 seed round to focus on sales and overall growth.
The edtech company, which has been based in the University of Waterloo’s Velocity Garage at the Communitech Hub, bills itself as the “Microsoft Office for teachers” and is used in 20,000 schools across North America.
The round was led by MaRS Investment Acceleration Fund, with investments from BDC capital, Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite and another tech entrepreneur.
“MaRS is a fantastic investor,” said William Zhou, CEO of Chalk.com. “Working with them really helped me understand and really home in on the business aspect of the company.”
Zhou, of Vancouver, first met Holmes when he was starting Hootsuite. As for Holmes, Chalk.com is his latest of eight angel investments he had made since 2012.
The announcement is bittersweet, as it also marks Chalk.com’s departure from the Velocity Garage.
“We’re in the corner of the Garage, which is the corner right before you move out,” Zhou said.
Chalk.com will be joining tech companies Square, MappedIn, Sweet Tooth, Netsuite, Industry Corp. and Renomii in their new home at 305 King St. W. at the end of the month.
“I’m going to miss this community [at the Hub],” Zhou said, adding that although they will still be nearby, “we’re not going to be physically here and it’s a little bit sad.”
Similar to other Velocity graduates, Zhou plans to give back to the next wave of entrepreneurs coming after him.
“We made some mistakes and I’m not afraid to admit that,” he said. “If I can help one company just avoid some big mistakes, that’s enough for me.”
Although ready to take his company to the next stage, the recently named Forbes 30 Under 30 CEO will miss the serendipitous run-ins with other entrepreneurs in the Hub’s Area 151.
“I’m excited for Waterloo and what the future holds for this community. We have the infrastructure, the buildings and services and all this great support,” he said. “But at the end of the day, it’s all about the people who make this community happen.”