The Edtech Startup Powering LA and Long Beach Schools Is Now Worth Over $1B. Teachers, Privacy Advocates Aren't Thrilled.
Courtesy of GoGuardian

The Edtech Startup Powering LA and Long Beach Schools Is Now Worth Over $1B. Teachers, Privacy Advocates Aren't Thrilled.

Edtech powerhouse GoGuardian nabbed a $200 million strategic investment from Tiger Global Management, making the Los Angeles company an instant unicorn on Thursday.

The software, whose customers include Los Angeles Unified School District and Long Beach Unified School District, saw their user base jump 60% last year as the pandemic drove students online and helped grow the global edtech industry, which is projected to reach $285.2 billion by 2027.

The company's software lets teachers monitor students' activity online during school hours, but it's been heavily criticized by privacy rights advocates that say it goes too far.

Still, it's gained a strong customer base. Since being founded in 2014 as a Chrome extension, GoGuardian is used in over 10,000 U.S. school districts. Their products include web filtering and AI that helps to determine a student's risk for suicidal thoughts or violent behavior.

GoGuardian co-founder and CEO Advait Shinde

"The success we've had to date fuels us to pursue our mission with more energy and ambition than ever before, and Tiger Global's investment significantly expands our future impact in creating empowered and inspired learners," said GoGuardian co-founder and CEO Advait Shinde in a statement. "We are grateful for their partnership and excited for the work ahead."

Tim Green, a professor of educational technology at California State University, Fullerton, said that while large investments like these show great potential for the edtech industry, fads come and go all the time and investors need to approach with caution.

"What I would like to see with investments like this is a concerted commitment to invest in educator professional development and support for educators to effectively use these tools to positively improve student learning," Green added. "And, to the point of positively improving student learning — there is a need to determine whether tools like GoGuardian actually improve student learning and the educational experience."

GoGuardian's rise has met resistance among parents and those concerned about the software's ability to track minors. The ACLU published a report in October 2015 highlighting GoGuardian's use of remote webcam monitoring, keylogging, and more, after which the company disabled these features.

In addition, typing "GoGuardian" into's search feature pulls up dozens of petitions to disable the software in schools, including one that successfully halted the use of the software in a New Jersey school district earlier this year.

GoGuardian spokesperson Jeff Gordon said that GoGuardian operates in "full compliance with FERPA, COPPA, and other regulations," adding that they have signed the Student Privacy Pledge.

"Ultimately, in order for us to deliver the insights that drive learning outcomes and truly have a positive impact on the educational experience, we have to be good stewards of the student data our customers provide (and which they maintain ownership)," Gordon wrote in an email. "We believe that privacy is an essential part of keeping students safe online."

Gordon said the company will use the new raise for "product innovation, talent acquisition, and business development," but declined to disclose more details.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Image by Candice Navi

In a year upended by crisis after crisis — the ongoing pandemic, the climate emergency, an insurrection in the capital — tech startup financing is not just bouncing back but altogether booming, and Los Angeles-based angel investors are a big part of that equation.

Angels usually take a stake in an emerging business using their own funds, before institutional investors are willing to throw more substantial resources behind an idea. Often, they start off as entrepreneurs or engineers themselves.

Read more Show less
Harri Weber

Do you know something we should know about L.A. tech or venture capital? Reach out securely via Signal: +1 917 434 4978.

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to

Launching a brand new business has its ups and downs, and Noura Sakkijha can tell you all about it.

In the early years of launching the fine jewelry brand Mejuri, Sakkijha hit burnout and learned some very difficult lessons that are now part of the story she brings to the latest episode of the Behind Her Empire podcast.

Read more Show less
Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.